Sep 8, 2017

Cisco WebEx | A New Virtual Classroom Tool

"This technology allows teachers to bridge the gap between school and community without the time, safety issues and expense of a field trip.  [It] allows us to increase the number of stakeholders in the education process which provides students with a much more diverse education.  Students can be face to face with someone in their desired field which can increase the buy in by students to their own education."
- Lisa Tomlin | Teacher NCWHS 
"I think this tech has incredible potential for educational use.  First it allows instructors to visit the class room without having to travel to school therefore increasing the number of hours available to teach.  Second, it allows recording so the seminar can be saved for rewatching or viewing by other classes.  [WebEx] also allows for multimedia presentation using videos, webpages, computer coding, graphical displays and any number of file formats.  The audio and video into the room allows for [the outside party to view] the classes."
- Dr. Andrew Bland | MD Nephrology 

These two quotes, the first from Lisa Tomlin (Science teacher at Normal West) and the second from Dr. Andrew Bland, MD Nephrology, demonstrate the vast potential found within our new Cisco WebEx system.  This system is made up of multiple parts.



WebEx Meeting Center

Staff members will have access to a WebEx account,  which allows for web conferencing from practically any device (computer, phone, etc...).  Think of this system, called Meeting Center, as a more powerful version of Google Hangouts, with the ability to audio/video conference, share screens, give screen control to others, and create shared whiteboards.  And all of this can be recorded for later viewing.

Meeting Center main screen

WebEx Meeting Rooms

Staff at Normal Community and Normal Community West High School have access to dedicated Cisco WebEx conference rooms.  These rooms contain multiple monitors, presenter tracking cameras, and dedicated microphone systems.  This creates a smooth multimedia conference environment perfect for bringing in experts from around the world to share their knowledge with the classroom.

First official WebEx Session at NCWHS

Example

After all of that information, what is very exciting to see is an example of the system in action!  The following video was graciously provided by Lisa Tomlin.  It documents her classroom experience of connecting with Dr. Bland.  This was a meet & greet session with questions from the class about who Dr. Bland is, how he became a doctor, and advice he has on various subjects.  Dr. Bland will be revisiting the class throughout the year using this system as various other topics in the biology class are discussed.

Real World Example

Link to the Recording | Click Here
Password to Access | sHV2XVHK

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