Sunday, June 3, 2007

Cell Phone Conferencing...Many Uses in Schools

There is a great new web2.0 for Teleconferecing called Free Conference Pro! You can sign up for free, and create your own password protected account. Each teleconference can be recorded and stored, so that there is a record of the conference. Anyone can dial in to your conference and participate as long as they have the password. There are many educational uses for this particular tool. To begin it is a great way to document and keep track of group project progress. For example, the students can simply record their group brainstorming and discussions (which can occur from anywhere with the conferencing feature). This might also force the students to be more focused when they know their group meetings are being documented. It is also nice that they can meet over the cell phone/landline rather than having to always get together in person. Teachers can also use this feature for parent/teacher conferencing over the phone (especially if two parents cannot be in the same place at once). Also, the conference will be documented and recorded so that there is a running record of what was discussed. Another creative option is to have a conference "simulation" or "debate" for homework. Multiple Students could call in at a designated time and debate or discuss a topical issue using the conference tool. The students can take on different "roles" of a controversial issue and turn it into a radio broadcast. Or in a simulation mode, students could create a "constitutional convention" by taking on different figures from the revolutionary time period and debate what should be in the constitution. These are just a few learning activities that come to mind with this tool.

It is worth checking out!

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