I've been working on test calls with Pakistan, Peru, and Costa Rica in the last couple days. Here are some resources that I've found helpful!
- International Country Calling Codes. This neat little site is great for figuring out dialing strings for ISDN calls. Enter your country and the country you're connecting to, and you get the info you need! Very cool.
- Timeanddate.com. I've also been working on my NECC sessions, getting some international partners to connect to during my sessions. I've found the Meeting Planner very helpful to figure out which of my international contacts are sleeping during a session and which ones might be available. You just pick the date and the cities and you get a nice spread of times color coded to whcih times will probably work best.
Another thing that is very helpful is to be willing to do test calls and connections at odd times. It's not very fair or gracious for us in the U.S. to expect international sites to accommodate us by coming in outside of school hours to connect. We are connecting to Pakistan for a videoconference on Thursday, and due to the 10 hour time difference, we have to connect early our time and it's still after school late afternoon for them. So when we needed to do a test call, we connected late last night so the test was during the school day their time. That way to make the connection work, both sides have compromised a bit on the time.
I heard this message loud and clear in the international sessions at the Keystone Conference last October. It really is important to work as hard as possible to make the connection as easy as possible for all sides involved. So when planning your international videoconferences, be considerate and thoughtful of your partner school!