Saturday, December 15, 2007

Can You Hear Me Now?

Last summer I had the opportunity to videoconference with a group of educators from BOCES, which stands for the Boards of Cooperative Educational Services and provides school districts in New York State with a program of shared educational services. about 123 Jazzing Up the Curriculum with Videoconferencing. "Jazz" is an intensive week long professional development where the teacher participants model the actual activities and videoconferences their students will be doing. At that time they invited me back to be a presenter at their two-day modified "Jazz" on December 11th and 12th. They wanted me to talk about Poetry Slam and how we were utilizing videoconferencing in the program. They wanted it to be as interactive as possible. So, I recruited 5 of our last year poetry slam students to come and perform their poetry and field some Q & A from the grown-ups. We were all ready to proceed for our 9 AM start when the dreaded "we can't hear you" rang out from the various sites. I wasn't on mute, nor was it that the volume was low but rather it was that pesty microphone that was dropped last spring. I had been jiggling the connection for months and always had success but now it just wouldn't cooperate. "Can you hear me now?" (I felt like that Verizon guy.) Finally they decided to move on with their conference and I offered to try and get another vc unit from a nearby school. Global Nomads who were suppose to follow my presentation were able to take my place. I got the other equipment and was able to follow at 10:30. Unfortunately I lost 3 of my student poets along the way but I was left with two troopers who did an amazing job performing their poetry and answering several questions from the adult participants. Their teacher told me later that when they came back to class they were "elated". Videoconferencing gives students such unique opportunities and experiences. Ones that they will remember all their lives. I will remember that old adage "don't put off till tomorrrow what you SHOULD do today". The next order of business is to order a new microphone.

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