I receive the occasional question about how best to use Skype in the classroom to bring in guest speakers. My recommendation at the moment is to use the Portable Apps version of Skype on a USB drive, along with a USB webcam. Each classroom PC has two spare USB ports to use
Here is what I would suggest:
- Download Portable Apps Skype to a USB drive (http://portableapps.com/apps/internet/skype_portable) (drive needs to be formatted for Windows)
- Use the Logitech Webcam C920 - you can pick this up from Amazon quite cheaply
- Position the webcam to face your students with a desktop tripod. My recommendation is the Pedco UltraPod II Lightweight Camera Tripod
On the 29th October, 2011, I gave a one-hour session on “Essential Technology Tools for Teaching” as part of the monthly Technology Tuesdays. Above is an abbreviated video (about 19 minutes in duration) that shares some of the essentials of what was covered. Move information (and a PDF handout) can be found on the Technology Tools page.
The upcoming Technology Tuesdays session will be on iClickers.
BigBlueButton is an open source solution that supports sharing of slides (PDF and PPT), video, chat, voice (using Asterisk), and desktops. The support site for BigBlueButton is a little sparse at the moment, but this looks to be an extremely useful (and cheap) way of running a webinar or videoconference.
Well worth checking out.