About a year ago I started blogging. My third child was two weeks old and I’m not sure what I was thinking, but I started… One of my early posts was about video teleconferencing. I created the video teleconference so the president of a web site development company could observe and ask questions to my web design class during their final presentations. Last year we used a combination of Skype for audio and WebEx for video. We were successful but it was not an elegant solution.
Yesterday, our junior Chinese class video-conferenced with one of their classmates who is on School Year Abroad in Beijing, China. All with Skype. We projected my computer full screen on a projector and ran the audio out through the amp in the classroom. We used the Blue Snowball to capture audio and a Logitech QuickCam for the video on both ends of the call. All of this was run by my IBM X60 on battery power over our Cisco wireless network. PowerGramo recorded the Skype call and I used a Canon SD400 to video tape the class (1 gig card on 320 by 240 and 15fps gives you 45 minutes of video). I ran the 600 meg video through windows media encoder and it’s now 30 megs.
Pretty amazing experience, even though I didn’t understand much of the conversation. The students were amazed at how fluent their friend was. I think that a follow up assignment will be to translate the conversation – especially since some of the students didn’t understand much of it. How quickly you become fluent when immersed.