Thought Vectors on Sync Video

This blog post is in response to the Thought Vectors activity from the Teacher for Learning module of Ontario Extend.

The activity asks us to “Check out The Open Faculty Patchbook, and select an article that resonates with you. Take a passage from the article that grabs you in some way and makes that passage as meaningful as possible”. We can choose a nugget that we agree with or disagree with. One that we understand or that confuses us completely.  The key ” is that the passage evokes some kind of response in you, one that makes you want to work with the passage to make it just as meaningful as possible”.

I read through a few of the articles (or in some cases re-read) and landed on Patch #5  – In Sync – Thoughts on Sync Video Conversations. I was particularly taken by this article as I have been thinking about my courses for this coming September and have been trying to figure out ways I could have some “experts” come into the classroom through the likes of Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, Google Duo, Facetime, or whatever technology that will work. The nugget I chose from the article is:

…sync video is about a complex interplay of combining the communication senses to further understanding, and ultimately it is about conversation. It is about seeing but it is also about being seen, it is about talking but it is also about listening, and it is about being vulnerable and being brave. It is not for everyone and it is not for every situation. There are many options, there are still many barriers, for me it is about learning and playing with the possibilities afforded through tech, design, and delivery.

Photo from CC0

The line in this nugget that really stood out for me is “…ultimately it is about conversation”. The value of exposing our students to real-world experts and giving them the opportunity to have conversations with those experts is beyond measure.

As mentioned in the article, synchronous video chats can sometimes be problematic when the technology does not cooperate. I’ve used video in a couple of classes in the past and have luckily not experienced much trouble. That being said, another good nugget from the article, for when the goblins get into the wires, is:

Video takes a lot of bandwidth and if you are in a lower bandwidth situation turning off your video can free things up so that you can continue what is important – the conversation

Again, the conversation and experiences those conversations bring are key. The article even suggests switching to the phone if that technology is more reliable, even if it means giving up the video experience.

As with many things EdTech based, the key is to just try it. Be honest with your students that things might not go exactly as planned, but that if they do the learning experience will be phenomenal. For me, dealing with teachers in training, this is a great way to model taking chances and failing gracefully, especially if you have the back ups in place.

Header Photo by Gabriel Gusmao on Unsplash

One thought on “Thought Vectors on Sync Video

  1. I too “sync” with this concept, and find there is great energy in the room when it is a live event (which also means subject to things like internet hiccups, which have happened, projector issues which have happened).

    It’s something I have tried with a media class I first co-taught remotely that happened in New Jersey and I was beaming in from Arizona, my colleague and I called them “Studio Visits” that we ran via Google Hangouts (as it ran live and auto archived to YouTube)

    My colleague and I leveraged our connections to bring some expertise in that would not likely have been accessible, and it’s actually easy just to ask people we did not know at all. We would typically approach people with some broad topics we thought they could bring to the class, but left it open and conversational.

    We tried a few things to involve the students, such as asking some to be co-hosts (meaning they had to be prepared to ask a question or two live), asking others who maybe were less comfortable on camera to work behind scenes as a Google jockey and tweet out links and highlights that happened in conversation, and also a bit of using afterwards for them to add web annotated show notes.

    This evolved somewhat via experience in something that the patchbook author Autumn has been involved in much, the volunteer group Virtually Connecting that works to bring conference experience and experts to people who cannot attend- see

    And lastly I have done some of this via audio only when bandwidth is a challenge, it’s not the platform, but the live experience that matters most.

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