I am working with our academics department to find a technology tool that will allow a teacher in a middle school classroom to be teaching their regular students while simultaneously teaching students in other school buildings.
I believe Blackboard Collaborate will work (which we already use), but I am struggling to find a speakerphone/microphone or other device that will take care of the audio broadcast portion. We have (unsuccessfully) tried a bluetooth headset, but it would break up when I got about 4 feet away from the laptop. I know there will be some distance limitations, but the teacher needs to be able to move around to some degree.
I have spoken to a rep at PolyCom who recommended the SoundStation IP 7000 with a computer calling kit added.
The solution needs to be portable, if possible--not installed/mounted as the teacher(s) and rooms will change. While I am looking for the most reasonably priced solution, it doesn't have to be dirt cheap. Even the PolyCom device (at several hundred dollars) would be cheaper than professional video conferencing equipment.
I am most interested in the audio (not video since they can just use whiteboard.)
Does anyone have any suggested products? Lessons learned? Features I should be looking for? Pitfalls to be aware of?