Teaching, Learning & Technology
Sharing best practices from faculty around the world who are using technology to transform teaching and learning.

HP MyRoom – Desktop Video Conferencing Just Got a Lot Better

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Video calls change the way I work – so much so, that “phone only” conversations seem so much less productive, and more importantly, less human. So naturally I had to try the new HP MyRoom – and it my first impression is, “Wow – this takes “desktop video conferencing” to a whole new level.


chat with 5.JPG



When you work with people around the world like I do, plain old telephone conference calls can be problematic. Some countries charge people for incoming calls, and connections are not always crystal clear. It’s no surprise that IP telephony has taken off, especially free services like Skype or Google Chat. The added bonus of VIDEO “phone calls” makes the conversation more human, and it adds back some of the missing “body language” that helps us communicate.

But in many cases, it’s not just about conversation – it’s about collaboration. Enter an HP MyRoom, and you’ll begin to see why I like it:



  • The analogy of a “phone call” is replaced by “a meeting”. You don’t “call someone” – you bring (click and drag) your contacts into your room. Once you’re together, you not only get voice and webcam video, but it’s a “room” that holds our important stuff. In fact, the items in your room are still there when you come back.
  • The desktop sharing seems to work better than simple webcam conference calling services. When you’re sharing a presentation or part of your desktop, you can still see each other in small live video thumbnails.
  • It’s easy.


It’s also free – at least the basic version that allows 1:1 meetings (see www.myroom.hp.com for details). For a very nominal fee, you can get premium services:



  • Rooms that hold 4, 10, or 25 people at once
  • Recording functions
  • Translation functions (!)








I’m particularly intrigued by the translation function, especially because I’m often talking to people who graciously speak in English even though they might prefer otherwise. With the SpeechTrans option, you can supercharge the text chat channel in your room. For users that have the premium SpeechTrans service enabled, they can:



  • Automatically translate chat messages that are posted to you but in a different language
  • Automatically (or on demand) have chat messages READ to you (great for those with visual limitations – or those of us prone to multitask and hide the room under another “task”)
  • Enter chat messages by speaking (another great accessibility plus)
  • Do all three, and essentially get translated speech to speech chat


NOTE: A free trial of SpeechTrans is currently being offered. Now’s your chance.



I, for one, am thrilled to see Desktop Video Conferencing getting better. It’s more than just hanging out, and more than just a call. In fact, I think we need to call it something else – perhaps, “Getting Stuff Done Together When We’re Not Nearby”…










Jim Vanides, B.S.M.E, M.Ed.
Global Education Program Manager
Sustainability & Social Innovation

Follow me on Twitter @jgvanides


video conferencing(anon) | ‎02-28-2013 12:42 PM

Wow this all looks so good. It's so much better than a regular phone call, its much more sociable.

Rodney Puplampu(anon) | ‎03-05-2013 08:17 PM

The New MyRooms is Awesome!  I can't wait.

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About the Author
Jim Vanides is responsible for the vision, strategy, design, and implementation of education technology innovation initiatives. His focus is...
About the Author(s)
  • A former K-12 district administrator and adjunct professor of communication, Elliott has won over 60 state and national awards in school public relations, is a past columnist for Electronic School, School Administrator and American School Boards Journal, and has been interviewed for many leading educational publications. Recently, Elliott helped developed models for personal learning, which in testing increased successful completion of algebra from 33% to 71% versus traditional classroom instruction. His work is featured by HP at www.hp.com/makeitmatter
  • I am part of the HP Calculator team, working on the HP Prime graphing calculator. I taught mathematics for 20 years and have extensive experience in the professional development of teachers of mathematics. My area of interest is mathematics education; specifically, how technology affects the teaching and learning of mathematics.
  • Jim Vanides is responsible for the vision, strategy, design, and implementation of education technology innovation initiatives. His focus is the effective use of technology to create powerful learning experiences that help students around the world succeed. He has been instrumental in launching over 1200 primary, secondary, and higher education projects in 41 countries, including the HP Catalyst Initiative - a 15-country network of 60+ education organizations exploring innovations in STEM(+) learning and teaching. In addition to his work at HP, Jim teaches an online course for Montana State University on the Science of Sound, a masters-level, conceptual physics course for teachers in grades 5 through 8. Jim’s past work at HP has included engineering design, engineering management, and program management in R&D, Manufacturing, and Business Development. He holds a BS in Engineering and a MA in Education, both from Stanford University.
  • Mike is a passionate education advocate dedicated to helping schools design, build and deliver solutions that solve the complex instructional challenges that face K12 leaders every day. Mike is interested in working with individuals and organizations that share the same level of commitment to improving Instructional outcomes with and through the use of technology

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