The session begins when you as the lead host a meeting. Most users would schedule a meeting well in advance but you can also host an impromptu session and then invite others to join in. I could also invite additional member into this meeting. You would invite them through email sent by yourself or through the tool you choose to use. I will review this process a little bit later in the presentation.
The goal of this presentation is to share and review information about the uses of the virtual classroom as a learning technology both in the education and business fields. Our objectives include to Understand the uses of the virtual classroom Explore advantages and disadvantages Identify current trends Look at future possibilities Introduce various Virtual Classroom Software
Virtual classroom is a synchronous online approach to educate or instruct the participants in a defined subject matter that is not limited by proximity. Other terms that have similar meaning include webinar, online meeting, online conferencing, VC, and simply web conferencing.
Virtual classrooms are being conducted as training resources for agencies and corporations all over the world. Families are connecting utilizing web conferencing software and businesses are holding meetings from board room to board room.
People are connecting from almost everywhere in the world to handle business deals, transactions, and learning opportunities. One of the more common buzz words these days is “Connected”. The entire world is getting connected.
The virtual classroom or web conference which is a more widely recognized term, has developed from the earlier days of teleconferencing or video recording to online asynchronous training to chats, to the synchronous online approach being demonstrated today. Businesses have begun using these software tools instead of face to face meetings to cut costs and manage time. Education institutions have just recently identified the benefit of synchronous learning and are still in somewhat of an infancy stage with its use. Many online classes are starting to introduce an element of the virtual classroom to provide increased engagement in real time.
We can understand the purpose of virtual classroom or web conference by looking at the advantages and disadvantages of its uses. It provides real time linked resources from anywhere in the world It provides immediate response to questions through chat boxes And students are enjoying the convenience of Connecting from their doorstep
[Picture this… you wake up and grab a cup of coffee, sit down at the computer in your PJs and slippers and log into class or participate in a conference or meeting.] Virtual classrooms and web conferences save the money of long distance calling or travel They can easily record the event for later viewing They introduce and utilize current teaching trends and tools
We should explore some of the disadvantages or at least be aware of them. Of course the virtual classroom is technologically more involved resulting in more problems Different equipment can causes compatibility problems Synchronous virtual classrooms require everyone to be logged on at the same time But one of the more troubling disadvantages is not being able to read everyone’s body language. Are they Confused, sleeping, gone, or busy doing something else.
Here is a list of some of the virtual class rooms that I evaluated. I explained the reasons I selected DimDim at the beginning of my presentation and plan to present the tool in a little more detail soon. I did have one problem with DimDim when loading HACC’s web page it came up in html code. The most popular is WebEx with GoToMeeting, Microsoft Live, Wimba and Elluminate probably rounding out the top five. Many companies are creating packages that use these different software packages based on your need and then they provide the support, and statistic monitoring much like a LCMS. WiziQ was also another open source product but did not have the functional ease that DimDim had. Flash Five is for much younger students and creates a virtual world to learn in. Groove is a rather new product of Microsoft’s. Voxwire seemed like an excellent product, but I did not know much about it and they wanted a credit card for your free download. That turned me off immediately.
Let’s take a look at the different desktops that these tools offer. WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Live, Wimba, and Elluminate As I mentioned most of these tools look somewhat similar.
I also wanted to show you a page from iLinc because of their green meter. Would anyone like to share their experiences with any of these tools?
This is the DimDim screen from a host perspective. Let’s take a look at the parts of the screen. Some products may have more tools and some would have less tools showing. Across the top task bar we have our room number, dial up location and phone number, pass code and a tools drop down. To the far right we have the duration of the conference and the end meeting link. The contents of the screen are divided into five windows: show items, now sharing items, public chat, participants, and video broadcast. You may have noticed that there is also a record button for recording the presentation and a full screen button.
Let’s look at how we would show different items in the now sharing box. If I select the web page, I have already uploaded Harrisburg University’s web page, we can share web pages. Secure sites will not be shown as a precaution. View a quick video from http://www.dimdim.com/products/dimdim-video-tour.html Let’s look at some of the tools we can use while sharing the white board. The bouncing ball is cute, but could get annoying. Shut it off by clicking on the ball. Most of these tools are easily recognizable. Each has a pass over description. (Create a text and drawing page.) I am going to activate the computer screen to show the capabilities of using a program on your computer and showing it through DimDim. ( Select computer screen and minimize screen Open a program or document on the local computer.) I am going to open some documents to show how the documents can be used and then I will open a PowerPoint to complete this presentation. Each participant can select a mood to let the speaker know that they disagree, agree, have a problem, are busy, or have left the building. Select a mood now. Return your mood to normal. An important part of virtual classroom is having a method to turn the presentation over to a guest speaker or participant to demonstrate or show their expertise or class progress. Does anyone want to take the lead and share something on their computer with us? Take back control when done. That covers most of the program capabilities. As I mentioned before the ease of use and the open source quality made this and easy product to use for a demonstration. The product remains free for up to twenty people. And requires no download. Are there any questions so far?
Today virtual classrooms or web conferences are being conducted regularly by businesses trying to save money on traveling to meetings. As I mentioned iLinc even will track your savings based on the address of all the participants. As a classroom tool educators are just now beginning to appreciate what Virtual Campus Software offers in the way of synchronous learning.
Not only can students connect and enjoy learning opportunities through virtual classroom, they are being introduced to the new and current technologies now being offerred in many school districts.
What does the future look like for the virtual classroom? The ability to share information, chat, blog, and discuss life’s experiences with students from all over the world could have a huge impact on course structure. For example , when studying about a different part of the country or a different country why not link to that classroom across the country or globally to learn about their economic, social, or cultural ideas. Businesses have already tapped into this market and regularly share information that locates the cheapest place to purchase raw materials, or manage software hotlines. The future holds even more expansion into this global market.
You need time to evaluate the program in all these areas. Do your other programs import easily? Is the Product easy to set up and bring in your content? Are there little or no installations needed? Can the product be recorded and reused? How often are design updates occurring? Too many could be a problem, but not enough suggest little support.
The development considerations probably always start with the mighty dollar. How long might the product be tied up in development, especially if it is difficult to navigate? Being easy to manipulate through a team approach would be a very important value. How quickly can you make edits or changes?
The key here is a successful connection with little or no assistance being required. How does the product work on an older machine or a slower online connection? Can you troubleshoot on the fly?
Conclusion I believe the virtual classroom is the learning technology of the future. The business world has already recognized the web conference’s value. Can education be much further behind? Question and Answer.
Virtual Classroom Slides
David McNaughton June 30, 2009
Goal and Objectives <ul><li>Understand the uses of the virtual classroom </li></ul><ul><li>Explore advantages and disadvantages </li></ul><ul><li>Identify current trends </li></ul><ul><li>Look at future possibilities </li></ul><ul><li>Introduce various Virtual Classroom Software </li></ul>
History of the Virtual Classroom Live Synchronous learning
Advantages Chat Box: Q: Can I control who enter my virtual class? A: Yes, only individuals who are invited or have the access code can enter. You may not be able to stop people from sharing their access code , though .
Design Considerations <ul><li>Define time available </li></ul><ul><li>Content converters </li></ul><ul><li>CORM </li></ul><ul><li>Ease of Use </li></ul><ul><li>Installation </li></ul><ul><li>Longevity </li></ul><ul><li>Reusable </li></ul><ul><li>User platform and system capabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Number of version updates </li></ul>
Development <ul><li>Cost </li></ul><ul><li>Ease of Use </li></ul><ul><li>Reusability </li></ul><ul><li>Longevity </li></ul><ul><li>Compatible with team development </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to edit or change content quickly </li></ul><ul><li>Product support </li></ul>
Implementation <ul><li>Easily installed </li></ul><ul><li>Ease of use </li></ul><ul><li>Compatible with various systems </li></ul><ul><li>Short learning curve </li></ul><ul><li>Speed of installation </li></ul><ul><li>Troubleshooting history </li></ul>