With Skype and FaceTime now common – it seemed natural to try to add live online lessons to our VLE. At first I tried a FaceTime from the Year 12 Geography Fieldwork into a Year 9 lesson, standing in a river while the year 12 explained the method to the year 9 back in school. This worked well connecting two machines, but for whole class teachings different approach was needed.
I them looked at a few different methods, before deciding to use Adobe Meeting Connect to give students access to an online meeting. This offers teachers the ability to display a presentation (usually a PowerPoint) in the main window, with sound (their voice) and if they wanted video (of them) also displayed live. Multiple students can interact with the lesson by raising their hand, asking questions (in a chat format) or in smaller lessons (with sixth form) enabling their microphones so they can talk direct to the teacher. Once set up we copied the meeting link to the VLE, so that students could log in there and then click the link. This meant we could control the users in each lesson – so only the right users were in.
The first test was an online English Revision lesson – the teacher was visiting family in Australia, using an IPad with the Adobe Connect App. The students were a week away from an English exam which was in the first week back after Christmas.
Around two weeks later a snow closure for a day during the exam season resulted in online booster lessons in A Level Geography, Health and Social Care and three science boosters. All staff and students were at home, using a mixture of iPad and PC versions. The use of the live lessons enables learning to continue even on a snow day.