Thanks to a recent blog by CogDog which made me laugh and want to readdress this draft post that I have been reluctant to share.
Talking at a conference is something I whole-heartedly enjoy; from the welcoming address to the sessions, the exhibits and the schmoozing, well, it is an undeniably enriching experience. Unfortunately, in May, circumstances prevented me from attending IALLT in Atlanta, Georgia, notwithstanding my every effort and desire. Fortuitously, I was still able to virtually present via Elluminate Live!, a real-time virtual classroom environment designed for distance education and collaboration in academic institutions and corporate training.
I am extremely grateful that my co-presenter, Sharon Scinicariello of the University of Richmond, indulged me by allowing me to use Elluminate so I could present my contribution to our presentation on Netvibes and Pageflakes (it’s posted on slideshare so feel free to peruse it)
It really saved what could have been a faux pas on my part (i.e., not presenting) so for this reason, I am thrilled that I have my Elluminate classroom. And there are some things about which I wasn’t so thrilled.
The good, the bad and the chipmunk
Like every good technology user knows, it is always wise to do a run through with the technology before hand to ensure, with a degree of certainty, that there won’t be any issues with the tool being used. Sharon and I had met in my Elluminate classroom to talk about the presentation the day prior to the actual talk. She was in the room assigned to us (the conference logistics worked out perfectly) and I in my home study.
To prepare for the presentation, I would suggest the following:
- Enter the configuration room prior to the meet-up (this is done independently, and it is suggested that you do it the day before you actually use it, just in case). It is essential that there are no technical issues with a user’s computer or connections.
- The speaker (me, in this case) should use a headphone with microphone to block out any type of noise. System speakers are fine, however, the background noises are easily transmitted too, so the microphone really limits the sound heard by the audience.
- Test the audio. Always good to know what you will sound like as your voice is projected on speakers in the room. Also, remember you will hear your own voice and must not let it distract you from your talk. Btw, don’t forget the lag…using an Internet is a blessing as well as a curse: after brief pauses, Elluminate would still transmit what I said, however, I sounded like a chipmunk (high-pitched and very quick…if anyone remembers LPs, it was like playing a 33rpm at 45rpm).
- Give your co-presenter moderator privileges. Since she is in loco, it makes sense that she control the slideshow and be privy to all the gadgets and features of Elluminate Live!
Now, in terms of giving the presentation, I highlight 5 key points from CogDog’s blog post on Deadly Online Seminars. Read it for yourself to truly appreciate his advice…and humour!
- Make it hard to even get inside.
- Don’t let your participants know who else is there.
- Make it hard or impossible for the audience to communicate with each other.
- Don’t greet the audience or make them feel welcome. I got into this session 15 minutes before it started, and there was no chat message, no welcome screen (the presenters were flipping slides), and on one greeted or welcomed the audience.
- Ignore your audience, make ‘em wait til you fill the hour with your voice, do not involve them at all.
I would love to receive any additional advice you may have to offer, as I will be doing another online talk in a few weeks for LARC’s Social Media Safari. Thanks in advance!
Archiviato in presentations
I had the opportunity over the last semester to use Pageflakes as a learning management system for my intermediate Italian course. The basis of this undertaking was the following, as prepared by @kahnp:
This study proposes a project to significantly enhance student success in a college intermediate Italian course by using new technologies and multimedia that will promote different ways of learning “ many of which are not traditionally part of the University classroom” and also support a range of learning styles. For instance, the inclusion of: a) images, charts, maps, videos, and animations to benefit visual learners; b) audio files, especially if these are linked to accompanying text files, to which auditory learners respond; and c) controls that allow students to regulate the way in which they interact with course materials for kinesthetic learners. (Richards, 2003).
Specifically, this presentation will show how Pageflakes was used instead of Bb as the chosen LMS in an Italian course. This customized webpage was used to deliver content in a variety of formats as well as provide the learning environment that promotes social constructivism that is suitable for today’s learner. For example, much of the content will be supported by news feeds using an RSS reader. In addition, students will participate in a variety of group activities as well as interactive exercises that utilize Pageflakes group sharing capabilities, audio and video podcasts, and Twitter, a hybrid micro-blogging and instant messaging system.
From this proposal we went on to conduct a pilot study to assess how content delivery would differ and if this difference does in fact compliment certain learning styles. I appreciate how we all think so, but there needs to be some measurable data to support our claim.
I can share some preliminary materials with you, but not everything for a number of reasons. First, I have one more presentation to give on my Pageflakes and Blackboard project at CALICO in Arizona (March) and I hope to be co-presenting with @sharongs at IIALT in Georgia (May). Second, I have so much data to analyze, I would be falsely presenting my findings if I provide you with perception of how the semester went with both groups.
What I can share with you is what I thought. In terms of preparing the material to share and assign to students, these is a very basic comparison of functional challenges we (@iVenus, @hellermd98 and @kahnp) found:
In terms of the aesthetic layout, compare these for yourself. Which do you prefer? I definitely know what I think is more holistically organized and more appealing.
Pageflakes – project outlineBlackboard – project outline
Tell me what you think. I’m very interested if you have any experiences you’d like to share.
Last night (or was it in the wee hours of the morning?), I found this article on Cnet.com.au in early March. Their verdict, #1 is Netvibes, and #2 Pageflakes.
Hope you enjoy this find as much as I did. :)
Archiviato in research, teaching
I just got off the phone with my sitter’s mom, trying to determine whether her daughter is available this weekend for my “it’s March break and I’m gonna enjoy myself” escape. Of course, she was unable to determine if her daughter was busy. The conversation went like this:
She: Can you call back after A is home from school?
I: Sure, not a problem.
She: Wait, do you text message?
She: You must be a cool mom. You text!
I (laughing): I had to learn. Students don’t email, they text. I had to learn to communicate with them their way.
She: Wow. I’m trying but it’s tough. Do you get the Times? There was this great article in the business section yesterday.
She: It’s called “are you too old?” but it’s the letter R, letter U…
I: Yes, I have it right in front of me. (it was the online version at which I was looking)
She: And it has a list of all the abbreviations…
I: I see it.
She: Well, here is A’s number. You could call if you want, but maybe you should text her.
I (still laughing): Thanks, I will.
It’s funny, ’cause I’ve said this before commenting on a post on terminally incoherent‘s blog, I straddle the technological horse, but apparently as a prof & mom, perhaps am conceived as being “2 old”, then again as a technophile who blogs, twitters, texts, & now pageflakes (although I gave up on facebook), other moms and some profs look at me as if I’m from another planet.
Pageflakes is an application that has been around for over a year, but, like many things, I sometimes get around to things a little late…hopefully, unlike past things, it is not too late. It is a competitor to Netvibes, iGoogle, etc. that uses widgets and modules to create your personal pagecast and share it or keep it to yourself.
I set up my personalized pageflakes startpage and am interested in playing more with it. Like many things, I am trying to take baby steps, to determine what it is I wish to do with it and where I believe I might be able to do with it (or it can do for me).
Does anyone already have a pagecast? Are there any suggestions, comments or feedback with which you could provide me? Delving into new Web 2.0 apps is exciting, but since I tend to push the “pedal to the metal”, maybe a speed detector is the way to go this time…