Web Conferencing Tools for Online and Blended Education

I sent out the following request over our Web 2.0 Group’s message system:“I need suggestions for web-based applications that can be used in online language courses. It is important to one of my language professors that the class is able to hear and see one another….audio and video.  She places an emphasis on the movements of the mouth when pronouncing words. I’d appreciate recommendations and advice from my Epsilen colleagues.”
Synchronous:

·         Skype Videohttp://www.skype.com/getconnected/  (free)   audio/video
I (Nancy Wozniak) want to experiment with this application for online or blended language courses.  I’m hearing good things about it from my colleagues in the U.K. and U.S.A.  http://www.skype.com/allfeatures/videocall/#high-quality-video    Suggested by Clark Shah-Nelson (SUNY Delhi), Marianne Dombroski (New York Times), Mike Lane (Portland State University), Clark Shah-Nelson (SUNY Delhi).

·         The Flashmeeting Projecthttp://flashmeeting.open.ac.uk/home.html  (free)  audio/video
This one is new and highly recommended by  Clark Shah-Nelson (SUNY Delhi).  Clark is experimenting with this application for meetings.  I’d like to try it.

·         Facebook – http://www.facebook.com
Clark Shah-Nelson (SUNY Delhi) wrote, “

·         Elluminate (vroom) – http://www.elluminate.com/vroom/index.jsp  (3-person Elluminate solution called Vroom for free— There is a cost for upgrade.)   audio/video
Htay L. Hla (U of Arizona) , Marianne Dombroski (New York Times,  Clark Shah-Nelson (SUNY Delhi) and Susan Woerner (SUNY Broome)suggested Elluminate as a possibility

·         DimDim.com – http://www.dimdim.com/ (free) audio/video
Marianne Dombroski , New York Times, suggests this as a possibility but has heard mixed reviews on the use of the application.

·          Vyew – http://vyew.com/site/  (Free) audio and video
Mike Paige (Cleveland State Community College) has tried it, but loves Wimba LC (licensing fee).

·         Adobe Connect – http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobatconnectpro  (licensing fee)
Mike Lane (Portland State University) suggested it as an eLearning tool.

·        Wimba Learning Classroom –  http://www.wimba.com/products/integration.php    (license fee) audio and video
Ron Paige (Cleveland State Community College)  replied, “Our small community college is entering the second year of a contract with Wimba Live Classroom (and Wimba Voice Tools, as well). I have played with Vyew — free at the basic level — but find Wimba LC ideal for our distance learning needs. The App Share feature makes it more than a distance learning tool, however. I have instructors using LC both in the classroom and across the county. The new version of Wimba LC (V5.2) includes protocols for multiple types of video input (more than just your webcam), which is a useful feature.          

·         Transparent Language  http://www.transparent.com  
Melanie Reed (IUPUI) writes, “note the upper left link for Educators, the Blogs down center page, and this link for Educators at the bottom: http://www.transparent.com/educators/index.htm” , and adds “
BYKI, is part of this online program and the “lite” version can be downloaded for language labs for free: http://www.byki.com/  It also features a Web 2.0 Widget tool with a word-a-day that can be installed on the desktop.”

Asynchronous:

·         Voice Thread – http://voicethread.com/   (free)  audio and video
Suggested by 
Susan Woerner (SUNY Broome) and Clark Shah-Nelson (SUNY Delhi). 

·         YakPackhttp://www.yackpack.com/   (free) audio and image (no video, as far as I can determine.)  This application looks interesting and Clark Shah-Nelson (SUNY Delhi) recommended it as a possibility.   I’d like to try it.

·         Flickr or a wiki (in general)  http://www.flickr.com 
Susan Woerner (SUNY Broome) mentioned, The other possibility is Flickr since they now have the capacity to include video. It might cost some though because she’s talking about some pretty big storage needs. But that does include the ability to privatize so just she and her class can use it. Otherwise, she could explore using a wiki where she can store video clips. With a wiki she might be able to give each student her/his own page or group students together, etc.”

Compress Yourself – Tag Cloud Your Resume

Recently, I received a message from my colleague, Htay Hla, Director of Information Technology at University of Arizona. Htay is a member of our Epsilen Web 2.0 group. He had put one of my posted journal articles through a tag cloud generator, Tag Crowd. He sent the generated tag cloud to me in a pdf format. I thought, “AMAZING! Could this be a tool for the classroom?” I tried it. I put my resume through the Tag Crowd. Look! It’s me, professionally compressed!

Nancy Wozniak Professional Tag Cloud

Go to the site – http://www.tagcrowd.com and catch a vision. I see it used in visual arts, economics, writing, history, biology … you name it. Try it. Let me know what you think.

The Use of Facebook in Education

This morning, I found a creative use for Facebook in the classroom.   If you are a Facebook member, do a search for “Perseids Meteor Shower”.  If you’re not a member, do a search for Nancy Wozniak and become one of my friends on Facebook.  The link to the Perseids Meteor Shower event appears on my profile.  (RELAX… If you join Facebook, nothing bad will happen to you…you will not be stalked or turn into a toad…I promise 🙂  You’ve got to see this!  This is a Facebook event group where students, faculty and everyone comes together and shares information on the event, viewing tips and meteors in general.  

BTW, this event page was started by 2 high school seniors out of Maryland.  They use a  Facebook group page as an invitation to the event.  They ask you to RSVP.  83,147 guests have confirmed their attendance, 19,823 might be attending and 21,287 have sent their regrets and won’t be in attendance.    Try it and you’ll begin to see some of the benefits of social networking in education.  Let’s get past the ridiculous debate on banning faculty from Facebook.  Let’s get back to teaching and learning.   I can see something like this as an engaging collaborative class project…hmmmmm…my mind is off and running with this one.  http://www.facebook.com