Using Voice Chat as an Instructional Tool - June 6th
About 10 people turned
up for a voice chat today (June 6th) on the use of
Voice Chat as an Instructional Tool. Despite the fact that the facilitator
(yours truly) was thrown out of the chat at regular intervals the
conversation flowed. We didn't get through anywhere near as much as I'd
hoped but that was a good lesson learned. It is important to allow input
from others and that of course eats into 'presentation time'. Perhaps
important in a bare voice chat (no talking heads or graphic stimulus of
kind) to allow opportunities for interaction more than you might in a
Susanne took the initiative and summarized the spoken conversation in
text chat, and many of us confessed to multitasking behind the scenes!
asked whether or not this is an acceptable thing for students to be doing
while they are listening to a remote presenter&..is it? What do you
Aiden asked how a teacher is supposed to keep 23 students focused on a
voice lecturein the absence of any visual stimulation? My personal feeling
is that students in such situations should be left alone to multitask
they want, but it was suggested that this kind of event would be better
staged in a virtual classroom with graphics, polling, and other interactive
features. But of course there is a substantial cost for that type of
software. This led to a discussion on whether or not there should be a
level of public funding to subsidise the purchase of these higher end
We also talked about the fact that we have all become very dependent on
saved logs or archives of text based web events, and that few voice chat
tools as yet allow the facility to record conversations. As Susanne notes
in her blog, we have gone back to where we came from taking written notes
on the important points from a voice presentation. So,
- Is it OK for people
to multitask while they are listening to a remote
- How do you (or
should you) keep 23 students focused on a voice
lecturein the absence of any visual stimulation?
- Should there be
a level of public funding to subsidise the purchase
of these higher end tools such as virtual classrooms?
First of all I wish
to thank Michael for organising the voice chat event on Friday. I also
wish to apologise for not being able to attend the whole time, as I had
to participate in the end-of-term exams of my school.
To me the experience was great primarily because I had the chance to come
in contact with so many colleagues and friends, and as I am so keen on
socialising that was a chance I wouldn't miss for the world.
Coming to the use
of voice chat as an instructional tool, I can comment only from the standpoint
of a (junior) high school teacher of English as a foreign language. I
believe that it is an invaluable tool from many aspects.
First of all, I believe
voice chat has the power to demolish the confines of the conventional
classroom and offer my students and me the chance to make language learning
and teaching a whole day experience. This is reflected in the connection
sensor by Yahoo! (the one which shows whether I am online or not) which
is installed on every page of my site The
Virtual English Classroom (http://users.otenet.gr/~damker) ; it has
not been used yet, mind you, it's just a study on the construction of
such a site.) Being able to see if I am online, my students always have
the chance to contact me via voice chat (or text chat if they wish).
Another asset of voice chat can be the fact that students in groups or
even the whole class can use it in order to organise activities in relation
to the carrying out of various collaborative ventures, like group assignments,
webquests, research on the Internet for simultaneous viewing and work
I believe that voice
chat must (I have never conducted any research on the matter, but I hope
I will have the chance to) increase the feeling of "connectedness"
among the members of a learning community, like a high school class, in
combination with the use of a class site as a point of reference, like
the one quoted earlier in this post. But now let me introduce a different
aspect this tool.
Ann Deng, a 10-year-old
girl from China, taught me another use of voice chat: a voice "chat
room" can be used as a practice tool by the students themselves.
Here's what they can do: they use a voice chat facility, like the ones
offered by Yahoo! Messenger or PalTalk( both my favourites), to start
a room with an attractive and informative title, like say... "Elementary
English Practice", or "Let's talk in English" or such things.
When the room is opened they stay there lurking for visitors, pretty much
the same way an octopus does for its prey. When a visitor shows up, they
welcome them and try to start a conversation in order to see if the visitor
is a suitable one for their purpose, namely to practice their English.
Here, we have an interplay of linguistic competence and sociolinguistic
deftness (as they have to lure the visitor and make their room interesting
and attractive). As time goes by, the visitors may increase and the room
may change into an "agora" (the market place of Ancient Athens
where all state discussions took place) for the benefit not only of the
initial lurking student, who can practice speaking and listening, but
also for the benefit of a wider audience.
Imagine this scenario as an assignment now: the teacher assigns a group
of students to start a room like this in order to practice speaking and
listening. The room will have to be opened at a specific time and the
teacher logs on as an unidentified visitor as well, after they see that
some visitors have logged on already (PalTalk has this facility and iVisit,
I think). The teacher saves the text chat session and makes an audio recording
of the whole procedure (an audio recording can be made either by using
appropriate software or simply by connecting a cassette recorder to the
earphones jack of your computer's speakers). How could this material be
utilised, besides students' assessment? Interesting material could be
presented in subsequent face to face sessions of the class, and the students
critically analyse the whole procedure commenting on errors and deciding
on aspects of their speech which have to be ameliorated.
Don't you think that
this use of voice chat would give the students incentives to practice?
Can you imagine the atmosphere in the classroom during the face to face
evaluation of the recorded material? There will be hilarity, but the objective
will have been achieved and the students will be looking forward to their
next speaking safari on the Net.
at 7 am my time, I had the pleasure of joining the voice chat here, invited
by Michael. I have already shared my first impressions in the collaborative
learning blog (link from the left menu when you scroll back to the top
of this page).
After I have read the ongoing discussion here, I wish to share a few thoughts
as a person whose online voice has just been awakened from the mute. Michael
has got a point: text chat with many participants will have multiple threads
and can be a challenge - whereas the voice chat is linear, as only one
person can have the microphone. I agree upon linearity regarding time,
still I would expect some utterings to refer back to earlier, especially
when the group is larger, just like it may happen in face to face situations.
There, I still am so attached to the "traditional" text chat
that I miss the facility to scroll back in the chatlog and see what was
said earlier in a discussion.
And, just like Dafne,
I need visual clues to keep my mind from wandering. For that reason I
think, but also because the sound connection was on-and-off for some of
the participants, I have tried to resume in the text chat what was said,
and once it will become save-able, we may find ways and habits to combine
the best of both communication modes.
Like Dafne I was disappointed
some days ago when we tried to improvise a voice chat with her students,
because we had so many technical troubles. And once we decided to stop
the voice problems and use text chat only, we experienced how these students
had become pretty fluent using text chat, compared to their first experience
with this - wherewe did striggle a great deal indeed to get them all into
the same chat conference in Yahoo Messenger, and to take away their first
anxiety. And, this was their fourth online session - where our discussion
level was pretty independent reflections. What does this show us: Again,
the affordance of having multiple strategies; when one chat tool is not
working smootly, we can try another. These communication channels are
still under development, still in beta versions, and we, as users are
also developing our ways of acting, scaffolding and moderating together.
What is amazing to me is how many invitations are roundsent to participate
in this session, and join that activity from people all over the world
of online community building in education. The pioneer spirit of volunteerism
and helpfulness has made it possible for a lot of people to develop personal
and shared strategies and knowledge in this field of education innovation.
From Kaye Blackburn:
I am very new to the
online learning arena but am interested in 'voice
chat' as a medium. I appreciated the experience but I'm not sure that
I would use voice chat in teaching just yet.
But I feel it has
great application to 'older' people - that is those
who are newish to computing and don't have typing skills. Eg my parents
The Wimba tool's typing section was too small to support the voice - for
when voice was less than perfect. I liked the list of names that
appeared when people with spoke or typed - this identified who was
Re your facilitation
- I think you managed very well especially for the
number of people you had on line.
Using Voice Chat with eVenture LearnScope Team (June 11th)
for screen grabs of this session, and hear a recording of this chat recorded
by Fernanda Rodrigues using Total
First off - thank
you once again to all those Webheads who showed up today
to assist the people in my workshop in their first experience with voice
chat. Susanne, Dafne, Fernanda, Aiden, Damian, Anne, and Georgina all
part. We met in Yahoo, and then migrated to Wimba.
On my side, on the ground in the workshop, everything was almost seemless,
but we were fortunate enough to be on broadband. Most importantly, the
participants in my workshop were enthralled and went away full of
enthusiasm at the possibilities of it all.
I hadn't done this kind of presentation before - getting everyone in the
workshop logged in and actually talking. I am usually sitting at my desk
at home joining events organised by others, and it was exhilarating and
taxing. It's quite some task trying to make sure everyone in the workshop
is managing, and keeping an eye out for what's happening online. For
example, I kind of lost Fernanda in the rush in Yahoo, but she managed
find her way to Wimba and met us there. (Sorry Fernanda!) I found myself
thinking how good Vance is when he leads such events at conferences, and
now have a much better appreciation of the pressure you work under when
host events like these.
Anne - fantastic to hear that two of your students were enticed to join
Wimba chat. (see Anne's thoughts below)
Thanks again to those who took part. Sometimes it's hard to gauge the
success of such sessions, but today's was a big hit and you could just
the impact it had on those doing voice chat for the first time. The long
term value of Webheads' voluntary participation in these events is
On reflection, today was a perfect example of exactly what I envisage
future classrooms can be like. A group of students in a classroom talking
to people from around the world. I wish some IT managers could have been
present to see what can happen when there are no firewalls!
From Anne Fox:
I hadn't planned on
joining the chat with Michael this morning but
Sus paged me on Yahoo when I logged in at work so I went.
My situation isn't ideal for shy language learners, we are in a room
with other students doing IT stuff and all my students are very
transient, 6 weeks is the norm. The amazing thing is that Sus and the
others in the chat room persuaded two of my students to join in. I
think they are sometimes unwilling to perform in front of me because
I'm a native speaker so while there are many who (rightly or wrongly)
would pay extra for a native speaker, here I get the impression that
I am at a positive disadvantage in some cases because of it.
The technology worked seamlessly for us and Sus very kindly stayed on
to talk to Ole (I only have 3 language students at the moment)who
really opened up. It was great to watch. Thank you so much Sus and
let's just for a moment forget the slight inconsistency involved in
two Danish speakers speaking English together!
What happened? Was it the technology which prompted Ole to talk? Or
was it more that he is a complete beginner as regards use of the
keyboard so speaking was much more convenient for him than text
for screen grabs of this session (kindly posted by Fernanda Rodrigues)
From Susanne Nyrop:
Hi Fernanda, Anne,
Daf, Aiden, Damian, Michael - and all the Australian and
Danish participants in todays' Wimba chat session,
I just had the pleasure to listen to the excellent recording , first part.
Thanks to Fernanda for doing this important pioneer job, we really have
looking for how to store and rerun the voice session somehow, and the
once downloaded to my computer in a temporary file folder, opened nicely
Winamp and started playing right ahead. The screendumps of our text chat
shows now it can complement the spoken communication.
After we met with Michael's class in a fine session, Anne was not sure
she could engage her students in speaking - but Ole was willing to give
a try, and I enjoyed a long and amazing chat with this guy who told me
his life, and opposite to the Australians who live at the other end of
world, Ole and I had some local Danish references in common because we
discovered that we were brought up in the same location - and he has been
working as a forest man or logger, nearby where I live today. We also
talked about our families, and the actual situation of increasing
unemployment in our country and elsewhere.
As Anne mentioned it is a little bit fun that two Danes should speak
together in English, but it did feel OK, and I even had to promise Ole
meet and voice chat again tomorrow. Even though I was able to hear now
then how he was searching for the right words, he was easy for me to
understand. This guy is not used to a keyboard, and he has a seven year
school background - so probably it is much easier to use voice than text.
will ask hím about this tomorrow.
Well, all of this is timetaking but also extremely interesting and I feel
learn new aspects of online community building these days!
August 1st - Student
Services LearnScope team
Port Adelaide campus;
Friday afternoon; spoke briefly on the role
of technology in enhancing online community, and then trialled the
Wimba voice chat and email tools within the LearningTimes environment.
We learnt with great delight that these tools worked through the TAFE
SA firewall (shhh...don't tell anyone!). Janet moved back to MindMedia
and was able to continue communiating with us back in the computer room.
Curiously, even though we (about 6 of us) were all in the same room, the
time delay between each PC receiving Janet's audio was significant and
caused an echoing effect around the room. It demonstrated clearly that
if there is more than one pc receiving the audio in the same room participants
would need headsets to offset this echo effect.
days later this same team held an online meeting in this room, and has
made extensive use of voice email. DMI and Regency and AIT are able to
use these tools through the firewall. Onkaparinga cannot. See Claire White's
feedback on this below.
Aug 7th - Voice
Chat Feedback from Claire White
Like text chat I find
it frustrating keeping people on track or keeping up with cross conversations
and, like text chat, I think a set agenda would be a good option to do
that. Live chat has advantages, however, over text chat - I don't have
to expose my terrible typing skills (just my terrible speaking skills?).
Maybe someday someone will overcome the disadvantage of not having a transcript
of the conversation - in the interim could someone set up a cassette recorder
near the computer - would that work?
I see the potential of this technology to enhance our library service.
Many libraries are offering a reference service by phone, email or text
chat - you phone or email in - ask your question and the library replies
with suggested resources to find the answer. How good would this be to
add to that process?- you would get the inflection of the person's voice,
you could easily ask further questions to clarify the request and if there
are technical problems eg seeing the website that you are suggesting,
they may be able to be resolved on the spot by talking through what you
are seeing your end or what icon to click - much easier than writing it
Anyway, I like it better than text chat and if we can resolve the problem
of recording decisons etc I think this is a great way to go!
WOW - it's off the scale on the Wow factor)
August 16th - Meeting
with Staff from Challenger TAFE
organised by Sue (Fishgirl)
Hickton; spent 20 minutes talking to staff on the possibilities of voice
online using the Voice Direct room at LearningTimes. About 10 staff logged
in. We decided on 1 way audio as the audio out of Challenger was accompanied
by high pitched feedback. I therefore hogged the mic, but paused every
few minutes to give people on the other end time to reflect and ask questions
in the text chat. Initially shy, people did eventually start posing questions
via text chat, but because of the paucity of communication back to me
it was very hard to assess what impact I was having at their end.
feedback from from Sue Hickton:
It was brilliant
actually! We had a few tech difficulties to begin with, but got most
of them sorted!! Trust me, it may have felt like a vacuum, but at our
end they were very excited and had a heap of questions!! Unfortunately
it seemed that only a few keyboards were responding in the 'text chat'.
I think quite
a few of the lecturers are interested in actually using this in some
form in some of their classes!! Apart from all the little probs, it
was still very exciting!! A look of incredulity on the faces of several
an online "audio conference" with Michael Coghlan in Adelaide
and a group of 14 Challenger TAFE staff in Fremantle last week. ....it
was a wicked experience!! We managed to carry this out....believe it
or not over the student network!! ...Being on the student network, I
thought that it would be a nightmare. The only thing I had to do to
get it to work was change the computer settings to accept all cookies
(i.e. lowest level of security) and this was acceptable..."
August 22 - The
New Mutltimedia - Putting LTAs to Work (session at eLearning
Conference in Hobart)
From Alan Carrington
(on the ground host)
ABOUT THE ACTUAL
PRESENTATION: There were about 58 people in the room and all of them
actively engaged in the process. Some of them quite excited about the
possibilities. The internet was certainly flaky but OK. Thechipmunk
effect kept everyone smiling but didn't interfere with the learning.
.....the head of eMagine (Tasmanian Dept of Education department that
hosted the event) was very pleased with our presentation. She joked
about "today we have disturbed a sleeping giant" as people
from about 14 schools had approached her after the event and asked how
could they use this technology
(my notes still to
August 28th - Introduction
to Voice Online Workshop
About 20 people -
10 in the room with me at Tea Tree Gully (a LearnScope team), 4 webheads,
a few from LearningTimes, and one FLL. Tool: Wimba Voice Direct chat in
We then tried Wimba
Voice Board and Mail tools.
Interest in the session
was high; some of the in-room participants were from a trade background
and were clearly interested in exploring the application of these tools
The Wimba tools performed
beautifully from behind the TAFE SA firewall.
An interesting hiccup:
at one point one person forgot she was 'holding the mic' so for several
minutes we could only just sit and listen to her talking to her husband.
We were unable to get her attention via the text chat, and so I suggested
we leave the chat until she released the mic. It did raise an interesting
ethical issue - should we continue to this private conversation?
From the person concerned:
hogging the mic the othernight--there should be a gong for people like
me who don't realize their turn has come up while they were looking
away! Or maybe an active key that you can click to start speaking, rather
than just having the mic go on as the default.
Many voice chats
already have this - when you release the 'active' key your microphone
turns off. But Wimba at this stage does not work like this. It was an
interesting situation - there was nothing any of us could do! If I was
in the US I would have called you, but as it was all we could do was
wait. But it was nice to hear Jack's voice in the background!
Feedback on this
session from Cheryl Priest (Office Admin):
This was a great
session and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I couldn't believe that we were
conversing with people from all over the world and that we had the option
of written and verbal communication in the session. It certainly motivated
the grey cells. I believe this would be a wonderful tool to use for
distance students and for all online students.
In the office
administration awards there is strong focus on team skills which
is hard to arrange for external students. This would be an innovative
way to bring students together for all team projects and pressentations.
method is only as good as those who implement it and I think that more
workshops, for those who want to integrate it into their teaching methods,
would be the first step. Facilitators need to be confident when using
September 9th -
presentation at Association
for Learning Technologies (ALT) Conference, Sheffield, UK, 9/9/03;
Online Conferencing - the next generation?)
is often dismissed as old technology, of limited value in higher education,
whereas text-based conferencing is fast becoming synonymous with e-learning.
Laurillard's taxonomy of media classifies video-conferencing as an essentially
presentational medium, confirming its status as an old technology belonging
to an era of teacher-centric pedagogy. But new IP standards and falling
costs are opening up the potential for multimedia-rich shared-learning
environments based on videoconferencing integrated with desktop applications.
Most online learning is currently supported via asynchronous text-based
email and conferencing for reasons of cost and bandwidth limitation
rather than pedagogical advantage. The experiments reported in this
presentation, however, show that even relatively low-grade internet
access is now capable of more than this, and that IP-based video-conferencing
environment can effectively support 'adaptive' and 'productive' interactions
as well as the merely 'communicative'. The presentation will illustrate
the integration of audio, video, and text-based conferencing in study
programmes at De Montfort University, UK and Athabasca University in
Canada. The session will be transmitted via internet audio to students
and staff at both universities, who will illustrate the cost-effectiveness
of online multimedia conferencing by their live participation in the
session. The proliferation of software products for online conferencing,
and the results of evaluation studies by graduate students in Athabasca's
Masters in Distance Education programme, will be highlighted. The virtual
reality classrooms described are a possible precursor to how the online
environment will look in future. Educators in Europe and North America
are taking quite different approaches to online conferencing, owing
largely to the different time-zone problems that confront them. The
session will consider ways in which educators around the world can learn
from one another by practising what they preach - that is, using online
conferencing techniques to discover the best practices for their use.
- Stephen Brown
(Professor of Learning Technologies, De Montfort University, UK)
Baggaley (Centre for Distance Education, Athabasca University,
Heins (Open University, UK)
Stephen was our on
the ground host in Sheffield. Jon, Barbara, and myself presented remotely
from our respective locations. The remarkable thing about this presentation
was that we used the free Yahoo Instant Messenger voice tool, and it went
without a hitch for the hour (with me on a dial up connection). (my
simple presentation page HERE
good reviews about the session, including the comment that it was good
to see presenters tackling a bold and innovative idea. (Group) participation
made the event a true 'symposium'....
I asked, "what
is meant by 'IP-based video-conferencing environment can effectively
support 'adaptive' and 'productive' interactions as well as the merely
'communicative'? (from the session abstract) I'm not sure what you mean
by 'adaptive' and 'productive' interactions.
I was using the
terms as defined by Laurillard
(2002) Rethinking University Teaching. Ie. communicative media
allow the participants to communicate with each other, adaptive
media allow learners to interact with learning material in an exploratory
way (not mere page turning) and productive media allow learners
to synthesise something new. So although old fashioned ISDN video conferencing
could be used for all sorts of things traditionally it has been used
primarily for delivering lectures...essentially a communication task.
You can get ISDN videoconf. participants to perform activities with
paper, pens, video cameras, PCs etc. but this is bringing in other media.
Because IP VC can be integrated with the rest of the PC desktop it is
easy to incorporate adaptive activities such as "try out this simulation
and see if you can make it do X" or productive activities such
as "create a spreadsheet to demonstrate X using the data fronm
the following table..." So the fundamental point was: desktop IP
VC is significantly different from studio or stand alone ISDN VC and
Laurillard's framework gives us a useful way of conceptualising and
building on the differences.
- Demonstration to CALS Staff:
Online Voice Interactions be part of Instructional Design?
About 12 staff attended
a demonstration of the various tools within the Learning Times site. The
ubiquitous (and very generous) JF joined us from NY. I used my laptop
over dial up because recent security upgrades to the TAFE network as a
result of the recent rash of virus scares have made it impossible to get
Elluminate through the firewall at AIT. (Still possible at DMIT however
- shhh!) The Wimba tools still get through the upgraded security - bravo
Those who attended
(Instructional and Graphic Designers) were clearly unmoved to begin with
but as JF proceeded to demo the features of Elluminate and engage people
with his infectious online persona people clearly started to consider
the potential of such tools. Very successful session in the end. Ann D
floated the idea of students having access to a virtual classroom after
hours - value adding to existing delivery.
Up - I need
to write a proposal on why TAFE SA, or individual institutes, should purchase
a virtual classroom tool next year, outlining benefits to students and
potential new markets.
24th - Voice to Taiwan: a Failure?
From Dafne Gonzalez:
I ... went to
my room where I waited for my 7 students. Happily, I saw how they, one
by one, incorportated to the session. So far so good.
I tried to communicate with the students using the voice feature, and
did not get any response. Then I used the text-chat applet and it seems
they were not paying attention to the litte window. They tried to speak
but I could not hear them. I could not communicate with Aiden (the teacher)
because in order to have a better connection she did not open Yahoo
Well, to make this long story short, I decided to start the class using
text-chat only. We were supposed to share stories about relationships.
Fortunately, I had prepared a web page with my story in the form of
a fill-in-the-blanks exercise using the vocabulary they were supposed
to have learned for the unit. I showed the url, and they started to
work. That's when Andy, from Alado came and told me everybody was having
the same problem. (in the other 2 rooms) I could hear Andy fine, he
could hear me, and Fernanda who was there with me was able to use the
voice feature too.
Well, once it was decided that the only way to carry on was through
text chat everything went fine, and all the students had the opportunity
to share their stories, ask questions to each other, make comments and
one or two hilarious remarks, too.
This shows us
we should always have a card under our sleeve when technology is concerned.
Students' motivation was great, and if they were disappointed it did
not show, they interacted with each other, were attentive to the stories
and, in sum, it was a another learning experience for me!!
having a webpage to fall back on (I didn't) my experience was virtually
identical. It was a productive learning experience that the students
*seemed* to enjoy despite the frustrations presented by the technology.
- do pre-checks of
all tools to be used
- run pre-check of
- have only one voice
application open at a time
- have back-up procedures
- eDay Session
(in LT: Voice Direct, Voice Board, Elluminate)
thoughts: It felt a bit crowded
and cramped for me and I was a bit disappointed that I wasn't able to
involve others (remote and physically present) more. JF's demo'ing of
vClass was great as usual - made me realise that I should stop relying
on others to demo Elluminate's features, and learn it me bloody self!
I need to sign up
for training sessions. I have been focusing on coordinating events rather
than learning the webcasting skills.
I think it's also
enough of these 'unplanned' demos where I am unclear about the direction
of the session. The next one at the conference in late October will need
to be a much more structured affair.
Today's session was
fine. People enjoyed it. I think I just missed an opportunity to raise
the bar a little. I've gotten quite comfortable hosting sessions like
this - and that is a useful set of skills I know - but it's time to extend
the boundaries of this type of presentation.
October 2nd - Meeting
with Webhead Anne Fox's Students in Denmark
Class home - http://streetlife.homestead.com/Chatrooms.html
This chat session used Wimba Voice Direct, and was part of a 5 week unit
on Street Life.
I just has a wonderful experience with two of Anne's students. After initial
(and the usual!) tech hassles, I had an absorbing conversation with Mette
and Morten. We spent a lot of time straying off topic but overall it was
a great example of how classrooms can link to the world. The two students
handled the voice interactions with great poise, asked a lot of questions
about life in Australia, and answered mine about Denmark. I had intended
to limit the chat to one hour but I was so engaged in the conversation
I let it run for quite a bit longer. I was a bit surprised by Anne's decision
to allocate just 2 students to a room, but in hindsight that was an excellent
decision because it allowed more air time for those 2 students.
There's no doubt the
use of voice chat made the experience a far richer one for all parties.
I could hear the hesitations as they strived for the right word, the right
form of the word, giggles of occasional embarrassment at mistakes, laughter
at comments I'd made. It was as if I could 'hear their intelligence'.
A thoroughly enjoyable
event. I'm curious to know how it went for others. Thanks very much Anne
for setting it up.
I also just had a
wonderful chat with Louise, Danish, nineteen years old (I think), and
Saranda, 17 or 18, from Kosovo, who moved with her family to Denmark 4
1/2 years ago.
To my pleasant surprise,
Louise started voice chatting almost at once and Saranda followed.
We had an extremely
interesting talk: we started by breaking the ice with introductions and
then went on to different topics: street life, driving, climate and houses,
family, values, equality between men and women, fashion, gays, foreign
immigration, etc. They wanted to know about all these issues in Portugal.
It was a fabulous
experience and I was thrilled that they started voice chatting at once.
I tried to jot down comments based on what we were saying, because I wasn't
recording the session. Fortunately, I should say, because I had about
10-12 server errors/breakdowns. I was about to explode! The good thing
was that reloading was very quick. And Louise and Saranda were very understanding
(Chatlogs of this
session at http://streetlife.homestead.com/Archives.html)
comment from Morten:
I also enjoyed our conversation very much, it was both interesting and
fun. It was also
quite an experience to talk to a person who is so far away over a computer.
comment from Mette:
I really enjoyed the chat and i thought it was very useful. It is always
interesting to hear about other cultures and to learn from them. It was
great that the voice chat worked after we had tried a couple of times
to fix it..:) For me it was a great experience..
October 7th, 2003
- Voice Chat with with
Staff and Students of the Centre for Distance Education, Athabasca University
(Yahoo Messenger; web-based Yahoo Chat option)
Feedback from Jon
Many thanks for your
valuable contribution to our course. You gave an excellent
transworld perspective for the students, and also influenced one of my
colleagues, I sense. This is exactly what I need to cajole those infrastructure
guys into allowing Yahoo through their firewall, to permit us to get on
The 20 participants were a mixed bunch of my students and others,
mainly teachers and trainers, but also including colleagues - even a Colonel
the National Defence charged with setting up similar facilities in the
About half of them had never used the software before and were gob-smacked
Australia on the line so immediately.
log of text chat
October 23rd -
My presentation details
The session was,
in short, a great success. Technically, apart from the initial hitches
when Jon's audio was poor (mostly due to the volume in the conference
room being too loud) everything worked and worked well. We began the
session with about 25 people and the audience grew to about 40 for the
bulk of the session. Apparently word got out in the conference corridors
that something really good was happening in the Wentworth room!
Several people came
up to me in the next day and a half and said what a great session it
was. One person said it was the best thing at the conference, and another
said 'you were the only one at the conference doing IT (it = pushing
the envelope/demonstrating innovation) and not just talking about it.'
So we can be well pleased with our efforts.
I asked many people
in particular if the audio was clear and whether they felt engaged throughout
and mostly the answers were a definite yes. I think LT will pick up
more members as a result, and some were amazed that Jon spoke to us
in Yahoo messenger so it was a good idea to present the range of tools.
Considering it was
the first time Anne has presented at such an event she did a wonderful
job. She has a great voice for online presenting, and her tone, clarity
of expression, and speed of delivery were just right.
From Susanne Nyrop:
This morning I got
up very early to join with Michael C. and Anne Fox for their presentation
in Learningtimes voice meeting room. This was a good session, Michael
was on location in Australia and Anne at home in Denmark, sharing her
story of the Streetlife project. The Australian audience were invited
to ask questions, and Michael who was the microphone holder had planned
some time for that, as well. After that, Jonathan did a quick tour with
us to tell about the Learningtimes community work, and show us some
fun images from the Online librarian conference that he runs for some
And thanks to Michael
and Anne for inviting us to be present with you. This was good.
From Arlyn Freed:
I just want to say
that I FINALLY had the opportunity to experience vClass and Elluminate
and I'm so happy I'm dancing on the ceiling!
What a powerful
tool! And the sound was excellent. It was so easy to use! And I heard
Sus and Maria for the first time ever!
Excuse the gushing
but I'm still a newbie to the audio aspects of CMC and this was a real
treat. I'm sold.
Also, from a Mac
point of view, it worked seamlessly. For once, I was not "left
out in the (PC) cold".
My response to
Arlyn - fantastic
that you were able to join this presentation! I remember the first time
I heard Susanne talking after about 2 years of reading her wonderful
text contributions. It almost brought tears to my eyes because it made
me feel so much closer to Sus.
I understand the
From Anne Fox (co-presenter):
From my perspective
I must say that one misses something by not being able to see the audience.
I had no idea of who I was talking to. The fact that there is a 3-5
second delay in handing over speakers in Elluminate means that it is
not really practical to pause to see if anyone has any comments. But
these are very minor considerations anyway.
I might mention that my husband was with me (to make sure I stayed awake!)
watching events as they unfolded and he was gobsmacked and immediately
wondered about the possibilities in his line of work. We do talk! But
seeing it in action is quite a different matter. He is a scientist who
attends conferences and gives lots of presentations so he's a whizz
with the Powerpoint but sometimes his schedule gets a bit too busy and
these tools might ease the calendar sometimes.
From Rita Zeinstejer:
The platform was
user-friendly, and , above all, voice was a success. I heard Anne Fox
speak from Denmark about conditions and barriers to overcome, and the
use of Wimba, and it seemed to me it's been one of the clearest voice
sessions I've listened to. It also made me feel good at hearing many
of us share the same fight against both teachers´ and students´
October 25th -
Taiwan - http://www.geocities.com/vance_stevens/papers/webheads/taiwan/wenshan2003.htm
As usual the chat
was so hectic today that I learned more about the Alado portion from
reading Sus's and Teresa's emails than I saw of the Alado chat during
the event myself. I was busy pulling strings as usual (actually switching
monitor cables mostly so was could show the audience whatever was working
out the one projector ... woops, that's stopped, quick, switch to this
one ... and meanwhile, sort of uh giving a talk). I'll have to subtitle
the next one A visit with Webheads: Chaos Navigation and the Importance
of Having Plan B
And it is difficult
balancing the expectations of an audience attending a 'Guest speaker
presention' (wait a minute, is this a speech or a circus??) and the
frustrations vis a vis what we are trying to do with the tech. It was
only at the end of the talk that Venny got one computer to actually
give us sound and thus broadcast your voices to the room (Michael realized
we hadn't heard his earlier remarks, remember?). There are a lot of
issues to work out, and some will have to wait for wider availability
of greater bandwidth. That was our problem at TESOL as well, pushing
the envelope with the occasional inevitable hiccup. But the spirit of
this group is to keep pushing, and it seems to be a crowd pleaser at
the end of the day and mutually beneficial to us all.
Wow, it was nice
to get back to the live Webheads presentations after a break (for me,
at least) of a few months. It felt good to join others through voice
- always a special experience, right, Michael? it says so much! - in
such faraway places as Taipei, Adelaide, Chicago, China, and closer
to home in Spain, Germany, Denmark, Turkey, and Switzerland (right,
Lukas?) in the old European continent!
I think that those
of us at Alado were able to follow part (most ?) of Vasnce's presentation.
Voice was off only a couple of times, but with Andrew's fabulous technical
expertise, the last time around it was solved quite quickly: a question
of logging out and in again. [IMHO, I think we should take Andrew's
comment about too many tools, computers, connections (whatever!) seriously,
and try to simplify things. And also do that workshop about Alado and
TI. I do hope we will talk about that tomorrow.]
I enjoyed the words
from fellow Webheads, but was sorry that there were very few questions
or comments from the audience. There wasn't much time, either, which
happens at most presentations I've been to, f2f or online. And it is
a shame. I always find that people in the audience are shy in the beginning,
but once someone starts, they loosen up and tend to follow. It happened
at both my presentations this year when Webheads came in to talk to
audience. [In general, the timing of Q&A time in presentations is
at a loss, so this is something we should look into very carefully.
Even if the audience doesn't start out at once, we know one another
quite well and can always ask ta Webhead to talk about something more
specific, or ask a question, such as Michael Coghlan did today, so as
to help the audience loosen up and interact.]
From Susanne Nyrop:
Those present online
were Andy in Chicago, Michael in Adelaide, Maggi in Germany, Dafne in
Valencia, Teresa in Parede, Arif in Turkey, and later Lukas in Basel
(a colleague of Andy) -plus Aiden, Ying Lan, Venny and Vance who were
also live on location in Taipei. And back stage in Tapped In were also
Don, aka Yaodong from south China who was not able to reach the Alado
room so he had to rely on our referring skills on and off, as we did
encounter quite a few fallouts of voice from Taipei in Alado. And -
oh oh, I surely forgot that Aiden was transmitting the session by webcam
in Yahoo using her Bluetooh wireless. Chaos navigation as usual; at
least Andy did his best to help cat herding ... But sure we did hear
some of the presentation, and were also allowed some minutes to introduce
ourselves, as well as having questions from the audience - a very LIVE
presentation that was indeed.
November 8th -
Aiden's ETA Event
After about 5 of
us had struggled to get to the right place at the right time, the first
question the students (grad TESOL students, I think?) asked was "Where
are you, and how's the weather?" We were of course dying to tell
them everything we could think of about CMC, so this was a surprise,
and I just burst out laughing (off-line, of course). But isn't it natural
to start with some social amenities?
So maybe this is
an issue to be dealt with--how to introduce the students/target audience
to the speakers in such a way as to make efficient use of a very limited
time period without seeming cold and abrupt. I think Aiden was hoping
it would work through our initial voice messages, however. . .
Most of us had difficulties
with the voice interface and/or the password/ID question and/or where
we were actually going to meet. Somehow, I managed to get Aiden's Webpage
(my digest seemed to have arrived earlier than Arlyn's), so I knew where
to find the voice conference--but I didn't get my PW/ID until moments
before Aiden was starting. My voice message may or may not have finally
shown up on the voice board.
So dealing with
proprietary software, like Wimba and BB are always going to present
the problem that guests have to "add the class" before they
can participate--which may entail added expense if the charge is "per
body." Otherwise, a live Wimba helper has to dole out PWs on the
fly on the spot. Maybe there is some way to get Wimba and BB to build
in a "guest" capability? Otherwise, give me LearningTimes,
TI, and YM over these.
I still find the
voice chat difficult and unsatisfactory--particularly so through the
BB interface last night. I kept losing the text messages after a page
or so, and ultimately my IE crashed the computer and I had to reboot.
Each time I closed the voice conference framework and reopened it to
get the text chat back, I lost a little of the audio conversation during
that time. Annoying. I was using Windows 95 and an IE 5.+ so it's partly
my equipment--though I see from other messages that others had problems
So I guess the features
of VC are not quite ready for primetime. Hope Wimba is aware and working
on this. And knows that they need to do Mac OS X as well! If the interface
won't work on old machines and won't work on the newest machines, they
are targeting only a very small (diminshing?) audience of users.
All complaints aside--it
was great to talk to Webheads and students. And thanks so much for going
to all the work and effort and trouble of setting this up, Aiden!
Three cheers for you--and keep on trying it.
from Chris Jones:
I think one thing
we need to emphasize with live audiences is that whenever we present
we are NOT using our normal teaching set up which is much less susceptible
to failure than presentation hardware which is set up on the fly with
unfamiliar connections or totally lacking connections. Thus, participants
should be advised that they are not likely to encounter these same problems
when they are teaching. In a teaching situation on your home campus,
you usually get a chance to try out new approaches, software, and/or
hardware before you try it with students. You still need a backup plan,
but it is much less nerve wracking than when we have just one opportunity
of one hour to perform in front of an audience.
13 - FLL Report (Roundtable Discussions)
This was a part of
the FLL showcase day.
Format: 3 separate
(but continuous) discussions; remote and f2f participants; Tool
IT Firewalls; #2 Firewalls of the Mind; #3 Implementation/Application
remote - Jonathan Finkelstein, John Walber, Hope Kandel (LearningTimes);
Steve Fisher (TAFE QLD); Vance Stevens (Webheads)
This was yet another
use of voice tools. Physical participants spoke using mics laid out around
the table so all, remote and those present, contributed equally to the
discussion. Archive of the session available at http://home.learningtimes.net/learningtimes?go=262476
A very successful
session. Elluminate peformed without a hitch for 90 minutes over a 28.8
connection (all the hotel connection would allow).
November 16 - Webheads
on Global Learn Day (from Abu Dhabi)
(who flew down especially
from Kuwait), and I were present at the Abu Dhabi Petroleum Institute.
We each took turns presenting to an audience of 6 or so in Abu Dhabi,
and approx 40 online. This was essentially the Webheads weekly meeting
projected to a global audience and as such was very informal. We used
the Alado/Talking Communities tool and for the first time it performed
poorly. Even Andy Pincon's audio, normally perfect, was poor, and reception
was choppy and our outgoing reception was 'Darth Vadered' - probably a
result of PI's firewalls rather than any fault of the Alado tool, but
people around the world reported frequent poor reception while our session
was in progress. This could have been a result of us pushing too many
graphics heavy slides too quickly. (check this with Andy)
Buthaina has created
a web record of the event. See http://alothman-b.tripod.com/wia-buth-gld.htm.
December 5th -
What was especially
important about today's presentation was the fact that many of the delegates
are from a video conference background and I really wanted to show them
that low bandwidth applications without video can do a very good job of
creating interactive online classrooms, and I think we succeeded in that
goal. A number of people approached me after the event and were *very*
keen to follow up with further investigation.
Many people have attended
several such events over the course of this year and to you I am especially
grateful. It has been an amazing year and though in many cases I have
been the frontman receiving the praise, every one of these sessions has
been a team effort and me standing there alone without an online contingent
would be a lot less impressive.
27, 28 - Oral Presentations
from Students in Kuwait
||This was a wonderful
event. Buthaina (Buth) Al Othman organised for her advanced EFL students
to do their final course oral presentations online to an international
audience. Buth arranged for a number of international guests to be
schedule). The Alado/iVocalize tool was chosen for the event
which involved students preparing and displaying Powerpoint materials
to accompany their talks. Alado perfomed well, except for the fact
that I no longer have access to the record feature.
The EFL students
from Kuwait University of Engineering had prepared their online presentations
carefully with a good understanding of how to balance text and images,
and were able to let these pages accompany their oral presentations
in Alado loud and clear enough to be understood by a foreigner like
myself. One thing is the prepared work; another is how the students
were ready to cope with unexpected questions and remarks from the audience.
(My comment: the students did handle questions remarkably well.)
This occasion to
participate in the final project presentation of Buth Alothman's classes
has been a tremendous experience and a great example of how to create
an authentic situation for foreign language students to express themselves
before an unknown online audience
with a globally distributed presence!
Not even the fact
that there were a few technical obstacles for the onliners could disturb
the presentations (or their teacher's supportive attention), and the
final recording that I was able to make of the session, has a good playback
quality that transforms the one hour presentation into an exemplary
documentation of this kind of student work.
from Van in Brazil
It was still
dark here in Brazil when I woke up and turned on my laptop to
join Buth's students at Alado.It was my first time using that
interface and after all I would say that it was a very good start.
We had some technical problems but I could follow around 99% of
the presentations. That was pretty nice to listen to some Webheads
for the first time and very pleasant to meet many students from
Midle East just like Dana´and others.
presentations went very well! They sounded very confident and
answered the questions promptly. Their English was very clear
and they seemed to have
no problem in understanding us. Michael and Sus' questions really
contributed to make the interaction richer and at the same time
I hope to
join other brilliant sessions like that.
on an excellent job!
I believe the merit
starts the moment that you, Buth, had this fantastic idea of online
presentations of final projects, and it comes all the way to the final
moment this morning (and tomorrow morning, I'm sure!).
No doubt that many
hours of work for both the teacher and the students are involved in
such a task: planning the project, coaching students on the technologies
involved, guiding, coordinating everything (some of Buth's tasks, I
imagine), researching, blogging research data, preparing the presentations,
and. . . presenting the final product online "for the first time"
(students' tasks). We all know from experience that "presenting
online" isn't easy, especially those first few times.
Well, girls, all
I can say is that you did a wonderful job and your English is very good.
For something like this to come out so well, I repeat, thereis naturally
much work 'behind the scene'.
This morning you
were launched into this fascinating 'online world'. Take advantage of
it and try to take others along. Your teacher is a great example of
what can be accomplished in such a short time.
Buth, your coordination
was excellent. The timing of each presentation and question time were
carefully and correctly planned. Six minutes is time enough to say quite
a lot, but also leave room curiosity. I enjoyed the discussions. Though
there may not have been as many questions as the students might have
expected, I think there were interesting comments. And it is a great
idea to have extra time at the end for a general discussion.
Finally, as I listened
to you, girls, I kept thinking of how 'brave' you were to have volunteered
to come online and face an unknown audience of Webheads. Congratulations!
Bravo!!! You are certainly very special students!
- Archive: if
you'd like to listen to the archive of this presentation you can download
the zip file HERE.
- student evaluations
of the experience HERE.
November 19 2004
Dafne Gonzalez' Architecture
Students' Oral Presentations
It was a very interesting
presentation, and your young folks were so obviously well prepared. I
love this type of international collaboration and think that it is the
most important thing that Webheads do. Sometimes I wonder if we really
realize the long-term effect of the things we do now, and how those things
will affect the students and instructors of the future that we come in
contact with. The Webhead experience is becoming one of the most significant
things I have done in my life. I welcome every opportunity to support
them in whatever way I can, whenever there is an opportunity.
It was a great heady experience today, and one that I and I think, your
students, will be thinking about for some time.
4th , 2004: Exploring the Use of Voice Online - presentation as part of
Becoming a Webhead
Micheal's presentation & powerpoint really energising because
of the combination of simple but excellent ideas and information;
also the collaborative manner in which it took place, including
comments in both text and voice form from some participants. It
was informative and informal at the same time, a lovely experience
which i think will encourage me to take courage in the face of
some of the obstacles mentioned by participants.
thing that interested me was the simultaneous texting during our
Michael's conference whilst he spoke. certainly when i lost sound,
it was a way for me to remain in touch....but i found it completely
fascinating that these two dialogues should be taking place simultaneously,
like levels of consciousness....yet only today my son was punished
at school for chatting in class. probably our attitudes to class
management will slowly change absolutely
drastically over the next few years, possibly becoming more multi-learning
style- friendly and certainly more student-centred. Its all very
anazing & exciting
successful and participative presentation. I think everybody was
extremely interested and some seem to be very keen on trying out
these tools with their students.
And thank you, Fernanda, for being here for us and our participants
to record the whole session. (downloadable from HERE)
I'm looking forward to hearing it, because I was logged off for
about 15-20 mins. Our cable ISP went down and hasn't come back yet!
successful session indeed. We had about 20 participants joining
us in a Yahoo Messenger voice conference room, and started to
invite people twenty minutes before start to make sure that technical
problems were solved as best we could. Michael was accompanying
his power point presentation with a very inspiring talk, also
including the very lively participant conversation in the parallel
text chat, that turned more and more into a funny direction, still
relevant but a little off topic, showing how easy our minds begin
to wander, just like it is for students in a face to face classroom.
At the end, it was fun to see all the applauding icons on the
screen, demonstrating happy peer learners :-)
We had ten minutes for questions and comments, and I certainly
hope that some of the issues raised will continue here in our
discussion list. Fernanda was recording our voice part of the
session that you will find in our Yahoogroup files section soon,
we captured some screen images and Dafne was able to save the
whole text chat that will be included in a homepage following
up on this session.
in the Canary Islands:
like commenting on how interesting Michael's session was. Although
I have used MSN messenger with my students (I still do it) I've
usually done it with text only. And thinking of them (teenagers),
I guess they'd probably feel more comfortable speaking in English
online than face to face, as most of them are quite shy and feel
embarrassed when they have to speak. Someone mentioned anonymity,
well, perhaps it might be changed into an advantage!!
Apart from that I've found it really inspiring, I mean the idea
of having virtual guest speakers. I'm sure they'd be thrilled
to have the possibility of talking to someone who is in Japan
So I'm seriously thinking of organising some sort of event similar
to today's , connected with culture, for example.I for one would
not mind to prepare a PPT on my area, Canary Islands, for example,
and arrange a meeting with other colleague's
students so that they can see pictures, ask questions, etc...So
here you have a volunteer to run the risk! Let me know if anyone
is interested...it can be great fun!
in the US:
a cheer to Michael Coghlan.what a great job..Phone, chat, Powerpoint
and running jokes on the side. I thought it was awesome. As far
the running jokes, we have become multi-taskers.how many of you
can sit at a screen and now carry on multiple conversations with
multiple subjects in
multiple locations and never bat an eye. Michael, it was great.
(thanks Bob! - MC)
from Leah in Japan and Answers from Dafne in Spain:
Was the power point presentation done one frame at a time?
Michael was following his presentation slide by slide and announcing it
to the audience so everyone could follow him. If questions were posted
to the text chat, he would answer them, and from time to time he asked
questions for the audience to answer or gave time for questions while
he gave a rest to his voice :-)
L: Were there multiple images on
the screen at the same time, for a reader/audience member to follow?
The link to Michael's page and ppt was written on the text chat so people
could click on it and have it open in their browser. So, each person could
have the chat window, the ppt images while listening to MC.
It sounds like there was a simultaneous lecture going along with the
power point being used in a way like lecture note handouts or notes written
on a white board, and the lecturer improvised a bit from the notes. Is
Michael was explaining his slides while people were looking at them, and
he, as I said before, would make comments about what we were writing on
the text-chat window. When he asked people to participate, people would
take the floor using their mics, or writing in the text-chat. Yes, the
PPT slides were used as his outline for the pres.
Were there any moving graphics for the eye to follow visually?
People would click to get to each new slide. There were no moving images.
In the PPS version of the pres, the slides had a very nice arrival to
the screen, but Michael did not use that version at the end**
Is there a way for a learner to work off-line in a word-processing
software, using editing tools such as grammar and spell check, before
posting? I understand that the on-line, synchronous aspect is both a motivator
for the learner to interact in 'real time,' as well as providing a text
record for the teacher to assess learners' output. However, the pressure
may cause anxiety.
Yes, while you are in a yahoo conference you can have your Word or whatever
processor and compose your messages which you can then copy and paste
to the text-chat window. However, I, personally, have not used chat with
my students for grammar or spelling correction. I think that it would
hinder their spontaneity and fluency. Chat language can be compared to
oral speech, there are other means to promote writing in their different
I simultaneously talk on the phone and send emails to friends who have
broad band connections. Despite the fact that that's one-to-one, how would
this experience differ?
At some point in the conference, I answered a phone call and read an important
e-mail I was waiting for. And during the whole conference I was answering
people's personal messages (in different yahoo windows) asking to be re-invited
to the session or to help with technical problems. So you can multitask
while attending a conference at Yahoo. With my students I have had 5 concurrent
conference windows with groups of students working and I popping from
time to time to each group just as you go from group to group in a f2f
Some comments from
Joao on the equivalent 2005 presentation:
presentation was very, very professional. It was backed up by a very
well structured and visually simple slideshow. Michael has great diction
and speaks very calmly, allowing for easy comprehension. As he knows
what he's talking about, he grabs the audience and has total control
over it. I liked it very much. It was also a lesson in how to teach.
(from his blog at
11th: Presentation to Phillippines Study Group at Technology
School of the Future
pre-session email to participants) Note: this email represents a fraction
of the email communication that takes place to set up such events. There
was much more communication on availability, times, tools, topics before
the plan became this concrete.
1.30 - 2.00 my time,
1.00 - 1.30 in Brisbane, 10.00 - 10.30 pm Tuesday in NY, 8.00 - 8.30 pm
Tuesday in Edmonton
introduce myself, the topic, and issues. I'll use a Powerpoint that
I will pre-load into Elluminate so you can see the slides, and will
use a lapel mic so you can hear me. During this half hour or so I'll
introduce each of you in turn for your 5 minute intro to your sub-topic.
Jonathan - obviously
you can load some slides if you wish, and Steve - if you have some you'd
like me to load send them to me before 11.00 am and I'll do it. I can
then drive them for you if you decide to do this. Same goes for you Jon.
But there is no need to have slides if you (Steve, Jon) decide not to.
In fact it may be good for the Phillippines folks to get a taste of voice
only for this part of the presentation.
2.00 - 3.00 my time,
1.30 - 2.00 Brisbane, 10.30 - 11.30 pm NY, 8.30 - 9.30 pm Tuesday in Edmonton
I'll get the group (16 people each on their own pc) into LearningTimes
and eventually bring them into Elluminate to continue the discussion informally.
Depending on their confidence levels, they will hopefully be enticed into
conversation with Jonathan and Steve. Jon won't stay on for this part
of the session. I'd also like to show the group the Wimba tools and wrap
up the session so I'll pull the plug on this discussion when conversation
runs dry or time's up.
What actually happened:
from Jon Baggaley:
Michael. Sounded as though you have already changed those nice gentle
Philippines people into a roomful of rowdy blokes!
Michael C continued:
That sounds like
a good place to start a debrief! There was certainly a marked difference
in energy levels once people set about the task of making their way
into Elluminate. It made me wonder if it would have been better to do
the whole session with everyone logged in. I chose to do it the other
way because I wanted people to see how these tools can be used in formal
presentation mode to show how you can join remote and campus based students,
and to show how you can invite guest lecturers into physical classrooms
and in effect team-teach I assumed that people from Asian educational
backgrounds may be more comfortable in a more traditional arrangement:
teacher out the front talking to the whole class. (I think I was wrong
about this. This may have had something to do with age. The average
age of the group was 30 something, not the 45 + typical of many Asian
I think the first half hour was successful, and I think dividing the
session up into two distinct sections did provide fruitful contrast,
but there was definitely a boost in energy levels once people could
try it themselves.
I didn't have
a chance to observe the interaction inside vClass. I was too busy buzzing
around the room trouble shooting various technical problems. (IT support
people had not checked that all headsets were actually connected and
so many took to listening to the conversation via exernal speakers and
this created quite a racket and a lot of feedback.)
from Jeff Catchlove
Many thanks for
your generous preparation and attention to intercultural factors. The
learning style preference for this group is unanimously interactive
and participatory - that's a useful benchmark for future encounters!
I appreciated the explicit chunking of your session - input, online,
input, online x3 then the task of going online together. The cacophony
and excitement speaks volumes for the fun and conceptual processing
experienced. .....your delivery was the usual well-informed, articulate,
well-paced, learner-centred class act Michael. A 1000 thanks!
.....please pass on to John, Jonathan and Steve (Canada, New York and
Queensland) our gratitude for their professionalism and generosity in
giving time to meet our needs.
March 11, 2004:
with Steve Gilbert
from TLT; session as part of Building
Community and Connections Online and On Campus series; ARCHIVE
for LearningTimes members
21, 2004: High School Graduation - Chicago
This was another wonderfully
innovative example of how to use a virtual classroom - the brainchild
of Andy Pincon (Alado Development).
March 6, we held Chicago's 2nd Mexican/Hispanic Education Summit at
one of our City Colleges of Chicago satellite campuses, Westside Technical
Institute where awards were given out to high school students that distinguished
themselves with exceptionally high grades in Mathematics and Natural
Sciences. Our Hispanic Technology Training Center, MEDA, awarded the
students with the highest grades four new computers which will be given
out to the students this Sunday, March 21 at 20:00 GMT. The students
and their families will be guest at MEDA for a Mexican luncheon and
we will have a live session in one of our webcast portals with students
in Mexico, Niños de la Sierra, where the Mexican students will
provide a presentation on Benito Juarez, Mexico's Abraham Lincoln, as
part of the event celebration. March 21 is celebrated in Mexico as Benito
Juarez's birthday. Dafne and Michael have graciously agreed to join
us virtually and say a few words to the students, their families and
some of our local community leaders and politicians who will be present.
Pictures at http://www.alado.net/meda/id8.html
24th, 2004 Hearing Every Voice - with the aid of the Internet.
This was a 3 hour
workshop as part of the CLESOL Conference
where 25 participants were introduced to the world of voice tools. For
an impression of what was happening online go HERE,
and also read Chris Jones' account below.
workshop yesterday was quite a success. I was amazed
and impressed at how his onsite participants jumped right in and tried
out several different Internet tools within about a 3-hour period. I
think he had about 25 people there onsite. We started out in Tapped
In, and it was quite amazing to see so many guests popping up one after
the other. BJ explained a little about how TI works in between comments
from the guests. Finally, Michael sent them off to other rooms, so the
conversation didn't scroll by so quickly.
Next we went
to Yahoo Messenger, and several participants took the mike and came
up to visit with those of us online. Unfortunately, YM closed up on
me a couple times, probably because I had too many windows active on
my 56K modem.
Next, the participants went on to use a Wimba voice board and have a
break, and we Webheads took our our breaks. I had recorded a welcome
on the Wimba board earlier. Today when I went back to look at it, I
had two replies to my greeting. However, there had been so much traffic
on the voice board that it seemed most participants must have made several
contributions--starting new threads and replying to various threads.
From there we
went to Alado. Buth made a great impromptu explanation to many participants
as some were in the room Michael sent us to and some were in another
room with Michael. Daf and I contributed as well. Then on to Eluminate.
Buth and Michael did a great job of showing everyone in Michael's office
how to use Eluminate. We had all kinds of drawings and comments on the
Previously, I've been online with presentations when it was hard to
get anyone to speak into the microphone. Thus, I was quite impressed
at how many participants spoke up and tried these different Internet
6, 2004: Using Voice Applications
Webheads Aiden, Dafne,
Chris Jones, Renata, and Australian National
Voice Project members Frankie and Tony joined me for a very enjoyable
session on Using Voice Applications. Even though it was a Moodle
conference this session really had nothing to do with Moodle. Moodle
creator Martin Dougimas was there though and watched the whole event with
After a short intro
from me to set scene and context (based on my FFL
roadmap (Mindmap), and slides
on synchronous tools, disruptive techlogies, trade -offs etc
- We spent approximately
an hour in Yahoo and Alado. Unfortunately my audio out was dreadful
for the whole time, and audio in for me at the conference centre was
pretty bad in Yahoo. Audio in in Alado was excellent. Many thanks to
Frankie for doing some text interpreting of my muddied audio.
- Dafne demonstrated
how she uses voice applications to 'import' guest tutors for her Research
- Chris J explained
students use Yahoo Messenger
- Undoubtedly the
highlight of this event was Renata singing an interactive children's
song with guitar accompaniment - really amazing. Songs at http://www.onegreenleaf.net
Due to the poor quality
of my audio (which was probably due to me using an untested laptop through
a proxy connection) the recording really isn't worth posting. And for
some reason the recording did not capture the graphics either. So, there
were several significant technical issues but still a thoroughly enjoyable
session from my point of view. It demonstrated very effectively once again
how MVPs (Multiple Venue Presentations) can combine virtual and
f2f worlds in one educational event, and in fact blur the boundaries between
Apparently the whole
event was being webcast via Real Player as well, and the audio there was
Thank you Aiden, Dafne,
Chris J, Renata, Frankie and Tony. If some of you were in Yahoo waiting
for me to invite you to the conference I'm sorry if I missed you. I find
it very hard to go back and keep checking my Yahoo buddy list once I get
started with the presentation. I guess that's a job I should have asked
someone else to do.