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This website contains ideas that are "in process." Simply put, what you read here may be just some random thoughts, rather than validated and final procedures. Mind you, aren't most ideas "in process?" The bulk of what you'll read here are answers to questions I am emailed or asked during presentations, or summaries of excellent ideas others share with me.

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How can we be in two places at once?

This Thursday I had the impossible experience of having to be in two places at once, Wyoming and Pennsylvania.  As it turns, due to a mechanical breakdown on my Great West Airlines plane, I didn’t get to Wyoming, and found myself over night in Denver.  I still wasn’t in Pennsylvania, however, and I wanted to connect with a great group of coaches there.

Thanks to the perseverance of super-smart leader Joanne Romano, I found a way to be in both places.  The time difference allowed me to join the Pennsylvania group on Skype from Denver when it was 6:45 AM in Denver but 8:45 in Pennsylvania.

What Joanne did was pose a few questions that the group had identified at the start of the session.  Then people engaged in spirited dialogue at their tables.  Joanne then involved me and a panel experts in the dialogue. You can read a summary of the conversation here.

What I realized (as I’ve always noticed when I’ve used some form of video chat) was that video really does allow you a chance to see A LOT MORE than a telephone call.  Simply put: when you see people, you communicate a lot better.

For me, the session was a heck of a lot of fun, but it also suggested great potential for Skype or iChat to support coaching.  If a teacher was to record her/himself coaching, and email the recording to a coach, they could use Skype for the coaching conversations. This would be one way that a coach could be in multiple schools, or multiple districts for that matter, and still use their time efficiently.  I wonder if anyone has tried this out. If so, what worked, what didn’t work.  There’s no doubt that technology like Flip Cameras, Skype, and iPhones are opening up many new ways that we can all work together to improve instruction. If you’ve had an experiences with technology and coaching, I’d love to hear what you learned, so please post a comment!

Reader Comments (9)

As a group of new coaches, we have found Skype to be invaluable. There are 8 of us in all and we are all in our own buildings. We don't like to be away from our buildings much, so we use Skype to communicate a lot. Lots of questions come up during the day and we are able to access each other quickly to solve problems together. We've also hooked some off our district C&I staff up, too, which also helps us get answers for teachers sooner.
December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Jacob
Jim, we need to show you what we're doing with iChat and pre-recorded video (currently using Flip cameras, but my goal is to make it so any device that can record video will work). Will you be around the center anytime soon?
December 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Sumner
Yesterday I was able to use Skype to work with a another coach on my team who wasn't able to be in the building. We were discussing tech possibilities for teachers. I was able to use the screen sharing feature of Skype to work through a short Keynote presentation and demonstrate how to do a few things on my own computer that I had recently shown some of our staff. I felt that it worked well and I can't wait to play with the possibilities some more.
December 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLiz Becker
I use Skype to connect with other coaches and teachers all the time, from all over Pennsylvania. I find it is an easy way to connect people and build a large learning network. I agree that people communicate better when they can see each other and put a face with a name and a voice. Tools such as Skype and iChat allow teachers and students to collaborate without needing to be in the same location. These tools need to be integrated into classrooms more often.
December 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDom Salvucci
Jim, I participated in that session and it was a tremendous advantage being able to see and hear your comments. Earlier that day I had gotten two phone calls from a teacher at my school asking why his IWB was not working. We talked through it but it took some time. If only we had used Skype I could have seen that he was using Keynote which needs a change in a preference setting before allowing annotation. Had I seen the Keynote presentation projected on the IWB, I would have immediately known what to do. It took a few minutes of conversation to determine this. Skype is definitely a valuable tool for coaching. Thanks for joining us via Skype!
December 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSue Rea
There is something about face to face interaction that really brings out more of the conversation. As technology becomes more apparent the purpose seems to be, more and better communication and more and better collaboration. I happened to be in a classroom discussing a fluency project with a Teacher and thought "you know you should talk with Mrs.------- at this other school" she and i had been working in the same general direction. It just happened to be the plan times matched up so I SKYPED the 2 teachers together and a great spontaneous conversation took place. As a Instructional Technology Coach of course I am all for technology but the payoff was the conversation that took place.
December 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDale Holt
I am one of three instructional coaches with the Transition to Teaching program in West Virginia. Because of the mountainous terrain of our state, it may take an hour to travel 20 or 30 miles. Since there are only three coaches, but 26 teachers spread across 10 rural counties, we often use Skype as a source to have conversations with our teachers and sometimes even observe a classroom. Skype has allowed us to connect and communicate with our teachers regularly, when we can't be in the classroom in person. For us, Skype is one of the best tools we use.
December 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTeresa Epperley
These jerseys which are interestingly termed retro basketball jerseys are old school. Here is an example, men football jerseys, Kobe’s jersey at the present time, but the Lakers look 20 years ago. That would be an example of the throwback kind. Sports stars put them on now and again during games
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