Video Conferencing Tools

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There are many different video conferencing tools that can be downloaded and used in the classroom. They all require a fast internet connection, a computer, a microphone , and a camera. Cameras used in the classroom do not need to the the expensive kind, a basic $20.00 camera will work wonderfully. The following is a list of video conferencing software used in many schools. Although most must be downloaded to your computer, some are internet based.

*Skype- Skype is the most popular choice (right now) for software based classroom video conferencing. It is free and very simple to use. It is available for both PC and Mac platforms. The PC version is more child-friendly and comes with many "extras" that can be downloaded to work along with Skype, such as games, and collaboratove white boards. Some of the extras I found very useful for young students include: TalkAndWrite, WhiteBoardMeeting, Oneeko and Supertintin Video Call Recorder.

*ooVoo- ooVoo is another software based video conferencing tool that must be downloaded. It is free and easy to use. It can be used by both Mac and PC platforms. The difference between ooVoo and Skype is that ooVoo lets you video conference with up to 6 different people at the same time (3 for free, 6 for a monthly fee). The free version includes 3-way lito create ve video chats, video messages,1 minute of video message recording, video effects, you can create one video chatroom, and you can call friends who don't have ooVoo.

*FlashMeeting(Software-free)- FlashMeeting is an easy to use online meeting application, it allows a dispersed group of people to meet from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. Currently 184 schools across Europe are using Flashmeeting to collaborate using only the web, a webcam and... that's it. There's no need for any download to your computer. The video conferences are recordable, saveable, publishable. So are the chats. And the audio. You see, the audio is displayed as a separate Audacity-like track which you can edit and play with afterwards.

MultiClass(Software free)- MultiClass ia another software free, flash based video conferencing tool. The MultiClass website lists upcoming events that your class can join in on as well as a class matching feature.