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Blogging Glow

April 12, 2007

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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7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2007 7:39 am

    Very glad you like our product!

    /Peter Parnes
    Chief Scientist Marratech AB

  2. April 12, 2007 11:55 am

    I do… though I’ll need more time to try out all its bits and pieces. If you are reading this can I ask a quick question?

    We noticed that the software didn’t seem to be using the full bandwidth available to it. All the participants were on Broadband, yet Marratech didn’t seem to take any more than 1 meg for itself. Is this deliberate, or can the user specify how much bandwidth to allocate? (I’m just thinking about trying to reduce the latency of the picture/audio synching and also the ramifications for many many users).

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated… and thanks for reading/commenting! I’m impressed you found me!

  3. burnie118 permalink
    May 15, 2007 1:21 pm

    I am looking forward to getting going – just have to wait until next Monday for my home broadband connection!

  4. May 15, 2007 9:43 pm

    Hi Sharon.., (aka burnie118!)
    How are you? We’ll need to get a meeting on the video-conference sorted out once you’ve gone broadband.
    How’s the MacBook doing?

  5. Jaye Richards permalink
    April 27, 2008 11:57 am

    You are right on the money with the ease of use stuff. I’ve used GLOW Meet to teach one of my classes from home ! 19 pupils all mic’d up, logged into meet, all using their own whiteboard to work on and instant messaging keep the classroom banter going whilst they worked….and not one single technical glitch during the whole lesson !

    Great potential here…

  6. April 27, 2008 6:07 pm

    @Jayne: I can’t wait to ‘go live’ in my authority (PKC)… hopefully this wil be happening after the summer… but I’m not holding my breath. 🙂

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