AV by AOL: A safe, instant, registration-free video chat


There are a wide variety of ways to host a video conference online including Skype, Google+, and FaceTime, but the choices of registration-free video chats usually are not as safe and often include some questionable advertisements. Also, a number of the better sites only allow for one-to-one video chats which limits their use in the classroom. AOL has a free video chat that can allow up to 4 people to video chat at once. Here is how it works:

  1. Go to AV by AOL, click on the ‘I’m at least 13 years old’ (if that is true), and click on ‘Start a video chat’.
  2. The first time you visit, you will need to click on ‘Allow’, ‘Remember’ and ‘Close’ on the Flash dialog box before it will have access to your video camera and microphone.
  3. You will start to see yourself in the window and you can then add your name at the top of the video.
  4. Click on ‘Copy’ to copy the unique URL to the clipboard. This is all the other people will need to join your  chat, so please be careful who you give it to. Don’t post it in a public place. Once others get the URL, they can join in the chat by allowing Flash access to their camera and microphone.
  5. If you are having problems with the video or you need to change the microphone or camera, click on settings and choose the video and audio components you would like and click on ‘Done’.
This is one of the simplest video chat functions I have seen and the fact that is it is safe and students don’t need to share any personal information to join a chat makes this a great classroom tool. Students can collaborate on group work or can have virtual discussion groups outside of class.
Feel free to add your comments or send me a tweet at @nathanghall. Thank you!

2 thoughts on “AV by AOL: A safe, instant, registration-free video chat

  1. Hello Nathan,

    Thanks for this one, you have so much great material here I’m neglecting my blog reading yours!

    In all seriousness though, I really appreciate your work, we’re going to implement this in our blended classes as a way of communicating with learners, and as a way for them to collaborate on group projects…fabulous stuff, thanks for all you share!


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