Here are my top 5 tips for organising and maintaining a successful video conference partnership with an international school. Using video conferencing for partnerships will promote pupils skills in speaking, listening, build confidence and enthusiasm for language learning and it will promote cultural awareness.
1. Involve the regional co-ordinator and school technician (if there is one) in any initial emails you have with the class teacher. They will help with step 2 below.
2. Contact the school and set up a test connection with the technicians. Use Janet (UK) - V-Scene to support you to do this securely and interoperably.
3. Once the VC connection works - organise a meeting via VC for class teachers to meet to discuss the plans they have for the partnership. What do the teachers want from the VC connections? How often do they want to connect?
Set dates / times and the aims of the future lessons during this meeting.
Click here for 66 teaching ideas via VC for Primary schools: http://torfaenvc.pbworks.com/w/page/22371742/FrontPage
4. Put the class teachers in touch with each other email so they can continue to communicate. Their relationship is key to the ongoing partnership.
5. Use other tools to support the VC sessions. Eg. share pupils work, photographs on school blogs, websites. Send written letters and parcels to each other and open/ read them live over video link. Keep
a record of successful activities that work and add them into your scheme of
work to share with others. Embed them into your own curriculum so that the
project can be repeated by other staff.
Click here to see what Highlands Primary School in Redbridge have been doing:
1) Time zone differences and clocks going back / forward (always check with your partner school )
2) When learning languages, speaking and listening is key to communication and using a good quality VC camera connected securely through the school network is crucial. A webcam will not deliver the quality of audio and video that will make any significant impact on learning.