Some days you do an activity in the classroom that just works incredibly well and you walk away thinking "AWESOME". I had that experience today. Today my 8th grade history students in Liberty, Missouri were able to take a visual field trip to the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and participate in a tour given by National Constitutional Center Education Director Eli Lesser. We used Google's new Video Chat feature - it was very easy to use and we had a quality picture. Eli used his laptop and a web cam to move around Signers Hall at the National Constitution Center. He told stories about the statues in the hall while showing my students specific details. He answered questions as they raised their hand in my class. It was incredible. I know this is not a ground breaking event - many classes participate in video conferences every day, but I found it amazing that all we needed to make a connection was a G-mail account, a web cam and one click. Very impressive. If this is possible with minimal effort, what else can be accomplished with this application? Wow.
I talk about today's experience in the podcast and I recorded the experience with my Flip camera from the back of the room. I have uploaded a 7 minute segment from the video experience to You Tube and have embedded it below.
I would like to thank Eli Lesser for taking time out of his day to participate in this activity with my students. I would encourage all history teachers to sign up for the National Constitution Center educator newsletter to stay informed about all upcoming activities and events.
If you have any comments or questions about the video conference please leave a comment to this blog entry. I would also love to hear about any experiences you have with connecting classes via Google Video Chat. Are you an 8th grade American history class that would like to participate in a project with us in Liberty, Missouri? If so please let me know - send an e-mail to email@example.com