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Using & Teaching Educational Technology

Increasing the conversation
By Terry Freedman
Created on Sun, 6 Jul 2008, 00:20

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Following the example of one or two people I know, I'm trying out two new ways of increasing the conversation and communication potential of this website.

There was now a live chat widget, and some video (Terry's Two Minute Tips"). Read on to find out more.

First, the Live Chat gizmo. I've been thinking about this for some time -- a couple of years, in fact. Until now, I have held back because time is precious enough without having one-to-one conversations through the website as well as on Skype, Twitter and email -- frequently all at the same time.

However, now that Google has brought something out, which I have seen on both Sharon Peters' blog and Tom Barrett's blog, I thought, well if it's good enough for them, why not give it a try? Tom says he has found it useful, having conversations with people who stop by his blog, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

I didn't use the Google one though, partly because I couldn't find it, believe it or not, and partly because I liked the functionality of the Volusion one better. Basically, you have to enter a name and an email address in order to have a chat with me, and it records your IP address. I like that because I think that it may, perhaps, give me a modicum of protection against spammers. Probably naive of me, but still.

Anyway, I was going to try it out for a month, so if you wanted to talk to me in an instant messaging kind of way, or leave a message for me if I am not online, you could. Unfortunately, installing the code stopped the comments facility from working. Don't ask me how come: it was installed in a completely different part of the website. Oh well, the search continues....

Tom also has started to use Seesmic as a way of saving time. That is to say, he has started to use it as a way of recording his thoughts on things instead of writing about them. I may decide to do that now and again, as setting up and using Seesmic has proven to be incredibly quick and easy. However, something I am far more interested in doing, and which I thought of doing a while ago, is to do short instructional videos, as a service to people who want it. The thing that stopped me before is that it seemed to be such a hassle recording a video with proper lip-synch.

Well, the Seesmic video doesn't suffer from that problem, but the quality isn't great. Still, I think it's worth exploring, especially as it lets you follow people, so lends itself to social networking.

Interestingly, I found that when I downloaded my Seesmic video and then uploaded it to YouTube, the quality did not seem to deteriorate too much for some reason. Certainly, the YouTube option is better in the sense that you can add annotations, such as your name and website (although these seem to show up only on the YouTube website), and the audience is potentially larger. So I will probably upload the videos to YouTube as well in future.

Well, here are the videos. The first one was the original Seesmic one, and the second is the YouTube version. I apologise for the fact that I am not wearing a shirt and tie, and that I haven't shaved. But please focus on these questions instead:

1. What do you think of Seesmic?

2. Do you like the idea of a series of "Terry Two Minute Tips"?

3. Which video did you prefer, the Seesmic or the YouTube version?

Also, of course,

4. What you think of the idea of the live chat facility, and...

5. Do you know of any decent and preferably free live chat widgets?

When you've considered these questions, please share your views via the comments facility below. Thanks. Happy 

The Seesmic version:

The YouTube version:

What do you think? Please leave a comment.