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Videoconferencing FAQs

What is videoconferencing?
Videoconferencing is a real-time, interactive connection between two or more distant sites.

What equipment is needed to videoconference?
Basically, you need a unit capable of transmitting video, a method of transmission (nowadays, most schools use the Internet) and a viewing monitor. Until very recently, a videoconferencing desktop unit that compresses and decompresses video (known as a ‘codec') provided the highest quality connection. However, a growing number of school districts are switching to a Virtual Meeting Room platform, which provides high-quality, reliable, easy-to-use videoconference connections. If your district is a member of the Eastern Suffolk BOCES Videoconference Service, you have access to a free Virtual Meeting Room.

Can I videoconference anywhere in the world?
You can videoconference with any distant site that has videoconference equipment and transmission capability. However, some faraway places might be problematic because of the time difference.

Can my class videoconference with a museum or educational center at any time?
Yes. You just need to schedule an appointment to meet the distant site via videoconferencing. Museums and others will schedule around a school's bell schedule. When you're making plans, be sure to verify the distant site's time zone.

How do I find videoconference programs that will enrich my content area?
If your district is a member of Eastern Suffolk BOCES Videoconference Services, you can search the Eastern Suffolk BOCES Videoconference Catalog. It's located in the Member's Corner.

How do I know if a videoconference program is a good one?
Services member can learn about good programs by reading Videoconference News. The newsletter reports the results from online evaluations provided by member districts.  It's located in the Member's Corner.

Are museums and educational sites willing to tailor programs?

Educational sites aim to please. They will tailor a program according to your grade level and curriculum objectives at no extra fee. Many sites will also create original programs for you for an additional fee.

Is it okay if my class skips the pre-videoconference activities?
No. The purpose of pre-videoconference activities is to prepare students for the videoconference. If students aren't properly prepared, they are less likely to interact with and ask questions of the expert. You don't want to reduce the videoconference experience to a TV watching experience.

Is it all right to put two or more classes together for a videoconference program?
Perhaps, the biggest benefit of videoconferencing is that it gives students the opportunity to have a face-to-face conversation with an expert. If a large group (more than one class) connects with an expert, only a small percentage of that group will have a chance to interact. If the students aren't interacting, the experience quickly becomes one of watching television—not videoconferencing. 

How do I get access the Member's Corner?
To access the content (the Videoconference catalog, current videoconference newsletter and more) in the Member's Corner, educators must be a member of the Eastern Suffolk BOCES Videoconference Service. Learn how to join the Videoconference Service