Creating a video chat in the classroom is a crucial component of global learning. This technique not only engages the audience more than a standard chat, but also strengthens technology literacy in a visual way. While there are paid solutions for corporate users, there are also smaller free ones that work just as well in an educational setting.
- Skype in the Classroom - Designed for education, this site brings teachers, projects and resources together from around the world. Free site designed for video conferencing and global learning.
- FaceFlow - FF is a wonderful site for creating a free room that allows not only video chatting but also texting. Up to four people can video chat at the same time via a unique URL that is generated.
- Caffein - A very user-friendly site that offers video chatting. Rooms are private but can be shared with social networks to allow others to join.
- Google+ - Still very new, Google Hangouts is one of the standout features on this amazing new social network. Hangouts allows up to 10 people to video chat at once with YouTube integration. There is a handy group text feature as well.
- iMeet - While not a free site to use, iMeet is one the most visually stunning video chat sites around. It allows up to 15 users at once.
- BoostCam - A fun site for creating a simple two-way video chat. All a user has to do is click, start chat now, and then share the unique URL that is generated.
- Wetoku - Similar to uStream, this amazing site allows users to create video interviews and then record and sync them to play in the same window.
- Tinychat - A great site for video, audio, and text chat. Also, integrates nicely with social networks and has a decent acceptable use policy.
- ooVoo - An excellent site, similar to iMeet, that allows up to 6-way video chat. Also, there is a very nice user interface with the ability to not only chat but also share files. A user can also save video chats and send them as messages. While there is a free user base, more features are available through different payment plans.
- iVideoChat - A simple chat service to use but the lack of features for the free version may not be the best option for education.
David Kapuler is an educational consultant with more than 10 years of experience working in the K-12 environment. For more information about his work, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and read his blog at cyber-kap.blogspot.com