Videoconferencing: Using Blended Technologies to Engage Students
Alberta Education

• • • • Alberta’s VC Capacity Lessons Learned from VC Projects Professional Development for Teachers using VC Workshop Goals & Overview

Videoconferencing Capacity in Alberta K-12 Schools is Growing
Table 2.1: Number of Videoconferencing Sites

# of Sites Videoconferencing Site Locations Elementary school Junior High school Senior High school Central office Virtual/Outreach school *K-12 *7-12 *K-9 Other Total Prior to March 2005 31 9 31 16 8 18 4 16 11 144 As of August 31, 2006 109 47 91 64 25 56 57 30 36 515 Total Difference 78 38 60 48 17 38 53 14 25 371

*Note: These categories represent video conferencing site locations not specified in the reporting form but offered by responding jurisdictions.

VC Capacity Funding Reporting
• Key Findings
Figure 3.2 Average (Mean) Use of Video-Conferencing Equipment Teaching and student learning (e.g. full-course delivery, learning enhancement) Administrative uses (e.g. meetings) Professional development and/or training Specialized services (e.g. speech pathology, counselling) Other


4% 41% 13%

VC Capacity Funding Reporting
• Key Findings
– Two in five (40%) jurisdictions used videoconferencing to offer full-course delivery. Jurisdictions doing so were almost exclusively located in rural Alberta.
Figure 3.3: Jurisdiction Use of Videoconferencing in the 2005/2006 School Year for Full-Course Delivery (n=45)

100% 80% 60% 40% 20% 0%

60% 40%



VC Capacity Funding Reporting
• Other Key Findings – 70% of jurisdictions reported having used videoconferencing in the 2005-2006 school year. – Where videoconferencing was used for full-course delivery, it was generally at the senior high school level (80%) in mathematics (33%) and science (33%). – Benefits realized in the use of videoconferencing were reportedly primarily in teaching and student learning, with many jurisdictions explaining that the technology served to lessen isolation and increase course access for schools and students in rural communities. – The $60 000 grant supplied by Alberta Education was primarily used to invest in videoconferencing equipment (an average of 61% of funds) and supportive technologies (an average of 21% of funds).

Phase 2 VC Call for Proposals Findings 12 K-12 school districts 9 universities/colleges

Note: Greater North Central Francophone Education Region No. 2 and Portage College reports pending.

Positive impacts and benefits were realized…
• Increased understanding of, appreciation for, confidence with, and professional capacity with videoconferencing among educators; • Enhanced technical infrastructures that support videoconferencing and related technologies; • Improved technical support for this infrastructure;

Positive impacts and benefits were realized…
• Appreciation by students and other stakeholders for videoconferencing as a flexible and beneficial learning opportunity. Specific benefits were noted in the areas of:
– second languages,

– enriched blended learning approaches, – inquiry-based activities,
– and increased understanding of Aboriginal culture and society,

Positive impacts and benefits were realized…

• Of particular note, are the reported improvements in curriculum design and development that resulted from these enhanced collaborations; • Development of valuable partnerships among jurisdictions and institutions;

Positive impacts and benefits were realized…
• An increased understanding of other benefits of videoconferencing including:
– time and money savings for administrative, parent council, technical team, and professional learning community meetings and for delivery of specialized programs and services; – increased flexibility in and accessibility of programming; – a more focused vision, strategy and implementation for videoconferencing)

Technical obstacles and challenges top participants’ lists…
• technical challenges related to equipment delivery and installation, interoperability, networking, and determining optimal classroom configurations within existing spaces;

Other obstacles and challenges which some participants faced…
• Staffing challenges; • Time tabling issues; • Some participants found that conventional models of schooling and teaching tended to impede progress Most of these obstacles and challenges were addressed early enough in the projects to minimize their negative impact on projected goals and deliverables.

Participants met the majority of their goals & deliverables…
• Participants reported successful implementation of their plans with respect to:
– – – – – – – equipment installation and operation; technical training; professional development; curriculum development and programming; Partnering; information dissemination; and evaluation.

Participants’ recommendations align with essential conditions…
• Participants recommendations closely aligned with the essential conditions for implementing technology initiatives put forward by the International Society for Technology in Education[1]. Recommendations related to: – leadership, – thorough planning, – ongoing professional development, – sufficient and well-functioning hardware and software, – reliable broadband connectivity, – skilled personnel, – supportive policies, and – ample technical assistance. [1] International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE); National
Educational Technology Standards (NETS); Essential Conditions for Implementing NETS for Administrators; Copyright ISTE 200-2005; Retrieved August 2006, <http:// cnets.iste.org/administrators/a_esscond.html>

Participants’ recommendations align with essential conditions…
• Specific recommendations of interest included: – Provide opportunities for students and teachers to meet face-to-face early in the term to socialize and encourage collaboration; – Ensure the pace of change is appropriate (related to planning);
– Use a blended technologies model, employing various technologies and learning resources; – Establish and promote a shared vision and cultivate commitment by all parties;

Participants’ recommendations align with essential conditions…
• Specific recommendations of interest included: – Implement a cross-ministerial videoconferencing network and global address book; – Continue to offer support through NAIT’s technical training courses, the Broadband Summer Institute, and ongoing development of VCAlberta.ca; – Encourage divisional teachers to partner in the use videoconferencing for classroom projects and other types of sharing, and provide half-day, rather than full-day, videoconferencing workshops; (Northern Gateway Public Schools); and – Provide or engage in further research.

Overall Conclusions & Recommendations…
• Reported impacts and benefits suggest a positive future for videoconferencing programming in Alberta
– Many schools and post-secondary institutions are still at early formative stages, that is… – Technical issues are still being resolved, – Promising practices using inquiry-based approaches are not yet the norm but continue to be explored, – Cross-jurisdictional/institutional partnerships and collaborations are maturing, – Stakeholder support for videoconferencing is growing as their understanding is enriched through experience, and – Supportive policies and procedures are being established.

Overall Conclusions & Recommendations…
• • Evaluation techniques vary, action research is limited, and longterm planning appears to be a challenge for many; Participants recommend improvements in the areas of:
– – – – – – – – – leadership, planning, professional development, pedagogical practices, hardware and software, connectivity, skilled personnel, policies, and technical assistance.

Overall Conclusions & Recommendations…
• Alberta Education, together with the professional learning community, would benefit from further research and the continued sharing of knowledge and information

Opportunities for Learning to use VC in Teaching and Learning
• • • • Alberta VC Regional Leads Network 24 Regional Leads http://www.2learn.ca/rln/rlnrls.html Cathy King, Regional Leads Network Coordinator
– KingC@ualberta.ca

Broadband Summer Institute

Elevate 2008 – Banff August 24-27, 2008


Today’s Workshop: Goals
• To assist teachers in engaging students in learning in distance courses delivered through VC and a blend of technologies by:
– – Providing a base of research to give teachers a rationale and direction for using a blend of technologies and active learning teaching strategies Providing opportunities for teachers to see and discuss promising teaching practices involving teaching with VC and a blend of technologies in action and to understand the elements involved in creating a successful learning and teaching experience with VC and other technologies Providing information and ideas that teachers can take back with them to their classrooms to make immediate connections and enhancements to their VC teaching assignments

To allow teachers to build an informal network of professional contacts to further support their implementation of promising teaching practices involving teaching with VC and a blend of technologies through planned interactions and discussions To model the active learning process using technology through all workshop activities

Today’s Workshop: Format

Which grade levels are you teaching with VC or are interested in learning about teaching with VC?
Elementary Div. 1 12%

Who is here today?

Elementary Div. 2 16%

High School 48%

High School Junior High Elementary Div. 2 Elementary Div. 1

Junior High 24%

Which technologies are you teaching with during VC courses or are most interested in teaching with?

Who is here today?

Interactive whiteboard Digital still/video camera, 27
Blogs/wikis/podcasts, 25

Desktop collaboration software Interactive whiteboard, 71 Document Camera Multifunction scan/fax/print LMS Desktop collaboration software, 63 Student email Student computers Blogs/wikis/podcasts Digital still/video camera

Student computers, 17 Student email, 23 LMS, 19

Multifunction scan/fax/print, 31 Document Camera, 51

What option best applies to you or describes your interest in engaging students with VC?

Who is here today?

May be teaching 1 or more courses in near future 36% 43% Currently teaching 1 or more courses using VC


I'm an administrator or support person for those who will beor are teaching with VC

What subject areas are you currently teaching with or are interested in learning about teaching with VC?

Who is here today?

Second Other Languages 5% 15%

Math 20%

Math Physics Chemistry Biology Language Arts Social Studies Second Languages Other

Social Studies 16% Language Arts 12%

Physics 13% Chemistry 9% Biology 10%

My wishes for you today
• Ask questions • Share your experiences and ideas • Make connections with others