Hosting a Video Conference
iChat, software included with Mac OS X, allows you to connect with others over the
Internet using video, audio, and instant text messages. An iChat audio conference uses the
internal microphone and speakers on the Mac to allow up to ten participants in different
locations to speak with each other. With a video conference, participants see and hear
each other at the same time by using a camera built into the Mac or connected to the
computer. Participants in a video chat can also share presentations, movie projects, and
other files on the screen during their video chats. Text chats allow you and students to
send text to each other in real time—and send files back and forth at the same time.
In this activity, you’ll set up and conduct a video conference with one other person.
iChat in the Classroom
Using iChat, your students can share ideas and learn together in a fresh teaching
environment. iChat provides tools for students to collaborate and communicate in many
different ways—they can use it to share information with students in other countries or
work on math problems with another class down the hall. With iChat, guest speakers from
anywhere in the world can make virtual visits to your classroom, which can add depth
and interest to learning and expose students to new experiences and points of view. iChat
allows students to ask questions, get answers instantly, and have meaningful classroom
discussions with your virtual guests.
For example, you could use iChat to host a video conference with a water expert working
for the United Nations for an environmental science class as part of a unit about water.
Such a guest speaker could talk about water quality in developed and developing
countries, including what are the challenges and possible solutions. The video chat can
include questions and answers. Students can use what they learned to make a short
movie or presentation that can be shared with other classes. You’ll learn how to host such