Monday, 4 June 2012

Create Quick Video Conferencing Rooms

Video conferencing is becoming an increasingly common form of communication within business, learning and within our day to day social lives.  So what are you doing to help your students get to grips with this important medium and to help them communicate effectively with video conferencing tools?

Well if your answer is 'Nothing' here's your chance to get started. is a free and very quick and easy tool to help you create a video conferencing chat room that you can use wit your students.

All you have to do is go to:  and click on 'Get a Meeting Room'.

This creates a link to a unique meeting room for your meeting. You copy the link and send it to any of your students you want to meet up with.

Then click on 'Enter Now' and you'll just need to add your name and then enter the room.

At this point you may get a message asking you to allow access to your webcam and audio. This is nothing to worry about, just click 'Allow'.

At that point you should be able to see yourself in your webcam and you just have to wait for your students to arrive.

If you look to the bottom of the screen you'll see that you can also open a note pad  so that you can take notes during meetings and that file sharing and screen sharing are coming soon.

Here's the link to the meeting room I created:  There's unlikely to be anyone there, but you can use the link to see how it connects on your computer.

It's great that you can do all this without even registering on the site. There is a registration option too though and if you do use this you can create your own permanent room and schedule and manage meeting etc.

So this is a great free, cheap and easy way to get your students into a video conferencing chat room, but what do they do once they are there?

Here are some suggestions for video chat room activities
  • Tell them a story - Ask them to make notes as they listen then come to the next class and retell what they remember of the story using their notes.
  • Interview a visitor - Get visitors from outside the class to come to the chat room so that they can interview them and then write up the interview. (Make sure they prepare questions first and have some idea of who and why they are interviewing)
  • Show and tell - Ask each student to bring a long an object that has significance for them and ask them to show and tell the other students about it.
  • Salesman simulation - Ask the students to bring along an object and attempt to sell it to the other students. They must describe the object's features and say why it is a bargain. You could add to this simulation by giving a students a budget to spend on the different objects.
  • Tutorials - You can use the chat room for one to one tutorials with your students and give them some feedback on their progress.

  • Of course one of the biggest problems with these kinds of activities is that they take place outside of classroom time and so they can be difficult to co-ordinate as you need to get groups of students online at the same time.
  • There is also likely to be problems with sound and vision if students don't have good equipment and good connectivity.
  • There is also likely to be a limit on the number of students that can gather in one room before it slows down too much.

If you are worried about all these problems, then probably the easiest way to get started and use something like this is to try to get a visitor online who your students can interview in class.

You could also try to get your students to use the chat room autonomously to do homework in pairs or to peer tutor and support each other.

Well I hope helps you to get started with video conferencing. It's something that's likely to become increasingly important in the day to day lives of our students, so let's help them use it effectively.

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Nik Peachey

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