Thursday, November 19, 2009

Watch This Space! Live Streaming from NCTE

Live Videos by Ustream

I'm new to UStream, a live streaming video site. I just started using it in September to broadcast and record my 10th grade English classes. I can already hear it. The audible gasp I inevitable get whenever someone hears me say that I live broadcast my high school classes. However, UStream is unique in that you can password protect your "channels." My classroom site is set up so that only the selected parents, students, and teachers that I've shared the password with can view our site. And I have to say, it has been an amazing tool! Whenever a student is absent, I send them to our site to watch the class they missed. Parents have joined us virtually to watch student speeches and presentations, and using the chat function in UStream, parents have given some wonderfully supportive feedback to my students.

That is not to say that every day I have parents and students watching our class live. In fact, most days, no one watches. But even if no one watched, it would still be an amazing resource for me as a teacher. I have a recording of how I teach. I can see how much I move about the room, where my blind spots are, who I talk to and who I need to include more. It has helped me grow as a teacher. I can look back and reflect on how a discussion evolved, what worked, and what didn't. And I have this tool because I saw someone use it at another conference.

So, now I'm sharing the tool with you! For the next few days I'll be participating in the annual conference for the National Council for Teachers of English (NCTE). Whenever possible, I'll live stream out the sessions so those who are not able to attend this year can still join the conversations and collaborations that come out of the NCTE conference. Additionally, I'll be blogging my reflections and notes on the various sessions. I hope that this is will not just be a record of what I see at NCTE, but a way to continue the conversations that merely begin there.

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