Tips for Using the ICN
If you are an Iowa educator, you probably have access to an Iowa Communications Network (ICN) video classroom. Even if it’s not your first time in an ICN classroom, these documents will help you feel comfortable with the controls. These "tricks of the trade" will help make the experience more enjoyable for both you and your students. The ICN classroom can be an excellent tool for presenting student projects.

The ICN Basics Handbook is a handbook of classroom basics of standard and optional equipment, how the equipment works (including the touchscreen, monitors, cameras, microphones, and fiber phone), copyright issues, and scheduling an ICN classroom.

For further "tips and tricks" to help make the ICN presentation run smoothly, check out these suggestions!

Tips for Using the ICN
1. Practice using the equipment–the more comfortable you feel with it, the smoother your presentation will be.
2. Check windows and lights before the session to correct any glares or shadows.
3. Check the focus on the overhead and instructor cameras. Zoom in as close as possible. Adjust the focus. Focus will hold as you zoom out.
4. If your ICN classroom allows, zoom in instructor camera close enough that the viewers can see your facial expressions.
5. Keep movements within the screen. Don’t step out or gesture out of the picture.
6. Remember that the lavaliere microphone used by the presenter at the originate site is live at all times. Say only what you want others to hear.
7. Use the fiber phone to report technical problems to the Operations Center (242-3182) or to speak to students individually. It is usually attached to one of the front monitor podiums. A list of fiber phone numbers should be available in a notebook close to the teacher podium.
8. Check the availability of a fiber FAX. If available, use the FAX to send documents to remote sites. FAX machines are not available in all ICN classrooms.
9. Start the video slightly before switching on the touch screen–this avoids a "dead" blue screen.
10. Make eye contact with the camera in the back of the room (speak directly to the students at the remote sites too).
11. Use a variety of cameras–avoid the "talking head" presentations. Include other people and other visuals as much as possible.
12. Begin and finish well. Begin with your face welcoming the remote sites and finish with a pleasing visual. (Watch for the countd valign="top"own to let you know.)
13. Avoid wearing clothing that is all white or that has small patterns and stripes. The white disappears into the back wall and the patterns "dance" on the screen.
14. Encourage students to present on the ICN. Have them include a PowerPoint, mPower, HyperStudio, or other presentation, visuals for the overhead, and a video segment.
15. Incorporate interactive activities into your session. Be sure to plan these well in advance to ensure that they translate from the regular classroom to the ICN classroom.
16. When reading text using the overhead, guide the students by scrolling down the page, using a highlighter, or uncovering lines as they read. Avoid fonts smaller than 24 pt. and avoid black print on white background if possible. Black print on light green or light blue paper is easier for the viewer to read.
17. Relax and be yourself.

Source: Iowa Public Television, Educational Services