I took part in my first Video Conference using the GLOW portal this afternoon. Very entertaining, and I must admit to being fairly impressed with the facility itself. Tessa Watson, one of East Lothian’s Glow pilots, organised the session to give some of the other Glow Mentors an opportunity to try out the tools.
As well as myself, the participants were Tessa Watson, Bob Hill, John Johnston, David Gilmour (the muscle behind East Lothian’s edubuzz), Dorothy Code, Andrew Brown, Vicki MacKenzie (from LTS and the woman who got us all into the group), and we had a surprise guest appearance from the head of Glow, Marie Dougan – or as I like to call her when she can’t clip my ear – Mama Glow!
It was a very informal session designed to give us a chance to try out the Marratech conferencing tools. I had already downloaded the Marratech software to my MacBook, and also my Dell in case I needed to use a PC. I’m not sure if I had to do this, but I’ve given the link if you want to try it yourself… anyway… what did I think of the portal?
I can see immense potential for the video conferencing. Marratech certainly appears to be a good choice as it is relatively straightforward to use (always important when dealing with teachers), but still has a fair bit of power under the hood. In essence, it can be used to deliver a presentation or lesson online but with the added benefit of allowing a dialogue between the presenter and the audience… or in my own case, between teachers and pupils. If you visit Tessa’s screengrabs of the session you can see some of the features of the tool in the notes I’ve left.
One of my favourite things about it was the ability to write/draw in (more-or-less) real time on the slides. This makes it a perfect way of discussing and highlighting specific parts of a text… the difference being that the pupil(s) can make their own notes on the whiteboard rather than waiting to have a go on the one on the wall! You’ll also notice that I am thinking about using this tool with a class in a lab rather than when they are at home or at the weekend. I think this will be one of the less obvious, but logical, uses of the tool.
We’re planning to have another session early next week, and I promise you a fuller account of the session. In the meantime, if you are a Glow mentor and you haven’t tried to use the Video Conference then get busy!
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