I found that having a space for discussions before, during, and after the online conference made the experience worthwhile. I found the following technologies appropriate for such discussions: Moodle, facebook, and Ning. I didn't like Google or Yahoo groups for the discussions.
I would like to see changes in the way live online conferences and online classes are conducted but the technology that is available is keeping me behind. I have mostly presented/participated in Adobe Connect, Elluminate, Webex, GotoMeeting, and WiZiQ. Only the team at WiZiQ have listened to my suggestions on how to improve the platform. The CEOs behind the technologies available for webinars don't seem to see the need for change. I get the feeling that no one is demanding changes and the companies are making enough profits as is, so why bother. For example, I have tried to interest Adobe Connect and Elluminate to make changes to cater to Arab & Hebrew, which are both written from right to left, but they refused. As a teacher/facilitator/instructor, I would like the virtual rooms to cater to my needs and they are behind. They are forcing me and some of my colleagues to teach in traditional ways that are no longer suitable for our students. I would like technology to serve my needs and fail to understand the point of using old ways with new technologies.
I can see that its frustrating trying to get the software companies to consider modifications which are so obviously needed. Are there any other changes that you'd like to see in synchronous environments?
I love exploring, too, I find that live online conferences are great because of the chat boxes. I would not be able to survive hours of listening or watching (if the webcams are available) if it weren't for the chat boxes. That's where I can connect with others, pose questions in real time, and learn about new technologies. The sharing that goes in in online conferences via the chatboxes is incredible.
I find online conferences more meaningful than f2f conferences because I can share/learn about websites/technologies and access them in real time. I love multitasking online so the chatboxes/online conferences are perfect for my learning preferences.
Hi Nellie, yes, the chat exchanges are so productive, and meeting new people is a great aspect. I hope that more conferences go online -- we can have more presenters, and even more attendees, and usually have access to the presentations we have missed. The expense factor is huge too.
The bandwidth problem has slowed video usage in Elluminate. Has WIZIQ solved this?
- We are connected to sites with small groups of people around an LCD projector/screen or computer with a speakerphone or microphone and where we want to engage, facilitate and harvest learnings from small groups.
- Other times we are connected to sites as described in number one above but also have individuals joining the session as well ... where they are sitting at a computer with a keyboard and mic/audio ... creating a mix of both small groups and individuals.
We are thinking about designing for participation in these instances and especially participation where we can harvest learning beyond just the surface or engaging these small groups via more than only the individual at the keyboard. (We have tapped into the power and potential of the small groups doing some work and then sharing back their thoughts with the larger group.)
One thing that we have talked about is how we might incorporate mobile technology so that everyone can contribute...not just the person in control of the keyboard. (For example, could we integrate something like a twitter feed into a platform like Elluminate?) We'd love to get your ideas on how to ensure that everyone who wants to actively participate in the dialogue is able to do so without the necessity of having one computer per person.
What have you done? What has worked well? What has potential?
What can you *imagine* could be done?
To the best of my knowledge, you can’t integrate a twitter feed into Elluminate. However, I have heard of many instances where a “back-channel” was set-up (by participants or conference organizers) so that individuals could interact there during live sessions. Back-channel conversations took place in Twitter and/or Facebook. These conversations were tagged, aggregated, and available from a central conference website.I've also heard of simultaneous back channel converations going on in Skype and wikis being opened on the fly during live sessions in order for participants to collaborate on presentation related content. The wiki was then linked to the conference website.
Hope this helps.
I really like the idea of back-channel conversations and intentionally bringing those to the forefront because such good thinking happens in the subtext. My dilemma at this point in time is that most of those I am working with are limited social media users. They use email, probably text a bit, and might be on Facebook, but those are the outer limits. My desire is to start where they are and build a bridge for using the familiar tools in new ways that increases participation (both "out-loud" and observational) of those in the small face-to-face groups who do not have a computer in front of them.
Does anyone know of any text aggregators that would bring all text messages sent to a certain number into one location...like a twitterfeed...that could be accessed by all of those on computers so they could be projected for all the individuals in the small groups to see? Or other ideas for how to create, capture, and share back channel conversations using simple cell phones (not smart phones)?