iChat software means multi-way video conferencing becomes a reality for pupils at Stepping Stones


Yesterday evening, I stumbled across a new development using Apple's iChatAV software that allows multi-way video conferencing to take place using a laptop computer, where previously, it required a fast G5 Desktop computer to initiate the conference.

For a year or so, Apple have engineered the iChat software, which comes free with all Apple Mac computers, to allow multi-way dialog between several users in remote sites. iChat facilitates up to 9 people in an audio conference and up to 4 people in a video conference.

I just so happened to be video iChatting Amy last night, when I noticed another pupil, Dan, online. I tried inviting Dan to a video chat at the same time. Interestingly enough, rather than be refused, Dan was brought into the same video conference window as my chat between Amy and me. This enabled me to see both chat participants, and this was true for Amy and Dan too.

There is one caveat, and that is that an Apple MacBook Pro computer is required to initiate multi-way video iChats. The participants of the conference need only to have an Apple computer capable of standard video iChat, such as the iBook computers that the pupils have at Stepping Stones.

We tried the same again in the classroom, this time including another potential iChat user.

So how can this technology be used at Stepping Stones?

There are several possibilities:

  • we could engage outside professionals to work with our pupils, who are in a remote context, be it their workplace, home.
  • we could afford to engage the very best professionals, wherever they are based in the world.
  • the learning opportunities for pupils could be extended to beyond the school day, for example, communication between the pupils and members of staff either planned or adhoc.
  • pupils who aren't able to physically attend Stepping Stones school might become remote learners, subscribed to the philosophy and perhaps curriculum that exists.

Please add your suggestions for how we could adopt this technology.

Submitted by Jonathan Furness on Mon, 2006-07-24 13:50.
Submitted by visitor on Mon, 2006-07-24 20:51.

I really enjoyed the 3 video chat much better .....
Thanks for putting that on Jonathan

Submitted by visitor on Thu, 2006-08-03 13:40.

Can you email the following please referring them to this story on our web site ;
Vladimir Serbin....for him to fwd to his guys working with Pushkin orphanage
Geoffrey Dennis CEO CARE,for African pilot site possibilities
Robert,Caroline,Stephen and Anne...the trustees
Sharon Stearnes Exec Director CAF
Matthew Bowcock Community Foundation
Baily Thomas Trust via Paul and Margaret
Plus remind me to give you a whole set of email address' of potential supporters /interested parties so that you can mail/url link them them regularly.
rgds Larry