Posts Tagged ‘skype’

Jen Wagner Steels (not a typo) the Show!

March 26, 2008

Today I facilitated a session introducing some faculty members to Web 2.0. This was a new PD topic for our school and the participants had no prior knowledge of Web 2.0. In fact they hadn’t a clue what it might mean. It reminded me of my own reaction a little more than a year ago when I first heard the term Web 2.0. I couldn’t pin down a definition. After much blog-reading, conference-attending and experimentation I finally have a handle on the term. So I ask, how do we typically describe something that is new and improved? I might hear, “This new generation of flat screen TV lets you view in TV in high definition.” New generation, an improvement, that’s what Web 2.0 is. It is a new generation of online internet tools. (see jeff Utecht’s video explanation) Most of these tools have two things in common that enhance internet user experience. Firstly, they are free. Secondly, they embody some collaborative features. In short, Web 2.0 is to the internet of yesterday what Vista is to Windows XP. It is new and improved. (theoretically)

The mystery of Web 2.0 quickly disappeared. It was now time to demonstrate some of the features and benefits. I opened Delicious to the CreekViewElementary page and displayed the contents on the Promethean board. I explained the benefits to using this kind of system for bookmarking over the traditional ‘favorites’ . Delicious links are available any time and anywhere you have internet access. Next I made four simple requests.

  1. Each participant had to download and install the Firefox browser.
  2. They had to sign up for a Gmail account.
  3. They had to set up a Delicious account.
  4. Next they imported the Delicious add-on to Firefox.

This took about 15 minutes and they were able to help one another in the process. Next I asked them to enter and then click the handy little delicious TAG button now found in their browser tool bar. I just love this feature. I explained how tags are used to file things by topic. The best part about tagging is being able to file one site under many topic headers. For instance, I put Voicethread under interactive, multimedia, projectbasedlearning, and web2tool. Now when I click on interactive, it appears as one of the options.

I pulled up an example of a 4th grade language arts project in Voicethread. The teachers could easily see how VT could be used within the classroom and even as a collaborative grade level project. Once teachers realize they has the necessary computer skills they get very excited about the prospects of using new tools. The necessary computer skills are very minimal and are virtually the same as the skills required to send an email. This is really another wonderful feature of Web 2.0. It is easy to use. Ahhh, finally and it keeps getting even easier. It really does. At this stage is you can read, type, attach pictures or documents and are willing to follow instructions, then you can enjoy all the web has to offer.

At this point, the participants felt fairly comfortable and were beginning to grasp the intrinsic collaboration component found in Web 2.0 tools. Suddenly they noticed a dialog box open on the Promethean screen from my laptop. It said, ‘ready?’ Oh, that’s my good friend Jen Wagner from California Skyping in to join our session. I will let her know we are ready. I typed back, ‘OK’.  I clicked the green call button and we connected. Jennifer Wagner is so warm and friendly she instantly gained the groups’ attention and started us on a journey exploring Google applications. She started with Google Reader and had everyone subscribing to her blog,! She is one smart cookie. She spent 45 minutes with us, covering Google-Calendar and Docs. Jennifer has an amazing way of bringing concepts to life with spot on analogies and concrete examples that teachers can relate to. She was the highlight of the session. Why? Because she is an amazing teacher and because she was speaking to us from California and it felt like she was in the room. Not only did the participants learn about Google apps they also saw the wonder of Skype in action. I was able to walk around and check on progress and offer assistance. It was a wonderful experience for me and I think now, it is the only way to really get teachers interested in the power of edtech.

Jen, I owe you one! You did ‘steel’ the show by strengthening the case for integrating technology. Now if we can just get one or two of them to listen to Women of Web 2 on Tuesday nights from 9-10PM EST … If you are a teacher who thrives on new forms of communication and enjoys participating in lively chats about the latest greatest teaching tools then you really must tune in to Jen’s Show on Tuesday nights. She and 3 other stellar women host a variety of edtech gurus. You listen and chat while they have a conversation. If you do decide to test the water by joining the chat on Tuesday nights please say hello to me (sendkathy) and Jen (jenuinetech).


Mogulus – Become a TV Producer

February 18, 2008

Yesterday my husband and I treated my son and his girlfriend to lunch at a well know Atlanta hotspot, The Flying Biscuit. They are both college freshman. Catherine would like to get into TV production but freshman year is all about required core courses so I suggested It’s a great way to get experience producing your own program. It is surprising how this simple free application hasn’t made the rounds in many college scenes. In this post I will list and describe the live streaming video options available for free and how they differ.

Tech Cruch Listing of StreaTVTech Crunch just made my job easy. On the left you can see a list of options posted in on the Tech Crunch blog . The title of the post is YouCastr: Live Podcasting for Sports Fans so pleas add YouCastr to your list of options. This is theirYouCastr logo, click to link. I signed up for blog TV which has Twitter integration, easy to use and has clear user guidelines rejecting the over PG13 material which plagues the likes of JustinTV which I do not care to join or revisit. UStreamTV lets you stream audio only or both A/V and one that was not on the list but should be is the recent Yahoo entry called Yahoo Live. It is similar to uStreamtv. The only very different approach to streamingtv is Mogulus. Why? Well it allows you to create programming playlists. There is a YouTube search just above the user interface. You search and drag clips into your playlist. You can also stream live or produce a show with live and archived clips from YouTube or whatever you happen to have uploaded. I like it. The only drawback that I can see is the embed limitations. They want you to use myspace and give only one alternate script for other webpages. Of course you can just post the link to your channel but embedding is more immediate, less clicking around for your viewers. One more option left off the list is MeBeam. I discovered this in January but in its’ infancy it had a major problem, live video chat with no restrictions, not good. I did write and was not alone in my complaints to the forum. Since then the offending button has been removed and now it is ridiculously simple to create a a video conference live stream for free. No registration needed. It does not archive but sometimes you don’t need that. Of course skype can do this but MeBeam allows more than one webcam on display at a time. I think it will stream up to 8. As the number of webcam windows increases the size of the image decreases.

So you may ask, Kathy, do you have a show? Well kind of, I did post some live streams of the Florida EdTech conference from my ripplingpond channel on uStream but beware the audio will deafen you due to some initial interference. Like anything else it’s a commitment. I find text blogging a little easier to manage at the moment. When you visit uStream I think you’ll find it is the most professional of the bunch. Hey even Hannah Montana uStreamed!

Thanks to Edtech Talk they are forever exploring new forms of live webcasting and last night Jeff Lebow experimented with Yahoo Live. Thanks to Tech Crunch for highlighting YouCastr. BTW YouCastr is cool because it’s all sports. Want to be a sportscaster? A childhood dream perhaps? Now if we could get a site that was all EDUCATION then we’d really be in business. As things stand now the practicality and safety of using these tools in school, elementary anyway is limited at best.