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Hosting The Lives of Objects: Video Conferencing Classroom Program

What technology do you need to video conference with the Smithsonian?

If you have access to a Polycom, Tandberg or other video conferencing equipment with H.323 protocol, great! You are all set.

If not, we may be able to still work with you!

If you do not have video conferencing equipment, you need to at least have...

  • A computer or tablet with internet access...
  • Connected to a screen/projector for students to view...
  • And a microphone, speaker and web camera to communicate during the video conference. These tools may be combined or built into your other devices or borrowed from another system in your school.

How many students can participate?

We like to keep our video conference to one class per session. During the conference we have an interactive discussion and want to make sure everyone has an opportunity to participate, so we keep our numbers small. However, if you have multiple classes that would like to participate you can register for multiple sessions.

When do you offer the program?

The program is offered on Thursdays and can be scheduled between 9am – 6pm Eastern Time.


Two Weeks Before Your Scheduled Program

  • A staff member will contact to schedule a test call to ensure everyone’s equipment is working. This MUST happen before the video conference. This is a good time to practice turning the video conference equipment on and off and locating the volume and other functions of your equipment.
  • Identify a space where all your students will be able to sit comfortably within your camera’s view, see a projected PowerPoint, and hear the video conference presenter.
  • Review video conference rules and expectations with your students. Students should speak loudly and clearly to the presenter, one at a time. It is helpful to have students raise their hands and for you to call on them before they speak.
  • Review the pre-visit material. Encourage your students to write down questions for the video conference presenter elicited by the pre-visit activities. We hope to have an active discussion with the students so questions are welcome!

Day of the Program

  • Have the technology set up in advance and the students ready to go at the scheduled start time.
  • The program will last approximately 45 minutes. The program can be adjusted to meet your students' schedule.
  • REMAIN IN THE CLASSROOM during the entire program. The teacher will handle classroom management and call on students for the museum presenter.
  • It is most helpful if the students have their pre-visit activity with them, but they will not need anything else during the program.
Inclement Weather Procedure

It is NMAAHC's policy to cancel all programs if the school has an unplanned delayed opening or is canceled for any reason, including inclement weather. Our staff will be on the lookout for such cancellations and will send an email to the lead teacher. If a teacher becomes aware of the change in the school's schedule first, please contact NMAAHC staff. We will reschedule the program at the earliest convenience. The program will also be canceled if the Federal Government is shut down for any reason, including inclement weather in the DC metro area. You will receive an email alerting you of this situation.

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