Video conferences as teaching tool – Videoconferencing guidelines


Last decade video conferences became a hot topic. Being a cheap or even free instrument, they still enable multimedia enriched and real-time communication. There are many practices showing to what extent video conferences can be used in science teaching as well as to promote science towards youngsters. ( And remember that Scientix is a perfect source to select your video-conference topic and further develop it into a Scientific/Educational project). Along the following lines, some examples on how to use the video-conference tool will be shown, while mentioning specific programs linked to those examples:

A) Expert – Classroom sessions

The partner school science program (PSSP). Ran and managed by Space Camp – TurkeyPSSP – Europe connects partner schools (kids ages 12-15) in Turkey and European countries through:

  • E-mails between students about space-related projects and sharing of information about their daily lives.
  • Collaborative research on NASA’s distance-learning website.
  • Videoconferencing and facilitation provided by Space Camp Turkey. During the video-conference session, students share their work and models on a common subject with a Space Camp Turkey staff expert.
  • E-Pal Week, a special summer session at Space Camp Turkey (optional)

Basically, every school in Europe can ask to join PSSP Europe, and will receive free and professional coaching by SPACE CAMP expert through video conferences. The meetings are initiated on monthly basis, coached by an Space Camp expert. Students and Project leaders are granted access to official NASA-developed learning materials and research papers.

B) Classroom – Classroom sessions

Any two classrooms can join and work on a suggested topic. There are examples on the Useful Resources Youtube links (Carried out under the NTSE – Nanotech Science Education project, funded by the Lifelong Learning Programme)

The benefits of this activity are the following:

  • Strong development of key competencies, especially: (1) Communication in a foreign tongue, (2) communication in mother language, (3) intercultural communication, (4) math and science competencies, (5) digital competence, (6) learning to learn.
  • Fosters the process from idea to project. To raise an idea to a real activity and later to an educational project is a process that most often does not reach its final stage. Ideas come and go; practical implementation is something else. Video conferences somehow ease the process and most often lead to real results. Here are some of the reasons:
    • A teacher or expert never works alone on a topic – the other side in the video conference is involved from the beginning; that gives another point of view.
    • The feedback from students is (most often) rewarding and seen immediately – that pushes educators to go further and develop their ideas in practices
    • Already includes a partner – having a partner is key for running project 🙂

Useful Resources:

1. Guidelines how to plan and initiate a video conference – on page 24 of the guidelines book

2. Link to a video conference between Physics exert (in Italy) and a classroom in Romania

3. Link to a video conference between Nanotechnology PhD in Greece and classroom in Bulgaria

Article written by: Alexander Angelov, Scientix Deputy Ambassador

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