I am very pleased to say I managed to get this online meeting facilitated!!!! It was a long journey and an experience I will remember for a long time.
I would like to thank everyone for their support and kind words. The students on this course were very encouraging and Sarah, your perseverance was outstanding as was mine and Robins (Robin was the guest speaker at my online meeting).
I do now understand the technology difficulties and the importance of having a back up plan. I tried facilitating my meeting three times. We tried using Elluminate and I have found this to be a very robust system but due to Robin using a MAC and the Elluminate version not being compatible, we did not have success the first time.
We then decided to try Skype and slideshare but due to the number of people attending the meeting, skype was not suitable. All attendees could access the slideshare put together by Robin.
http://www.slideshare.net/rheyden/for-kylee but skype did not stand up to the test.
We had to rethink our plan as the Eluminate patch did not allow Robin to access it using her MAC computer. Another student used Dim Dim and her meeting went very well. This was our next plan. We practiced using dim dim and it didn't go well the first time. I did some research and found out that it may be better if Robin hosted the meeting from her end (Boston, US) and I facilitate from NZ) We had lift off!! We were absolutely excited to get through the meeting and listen to Robin talk about online tools you can implement into your teaching. It was exciting to hear about screen jelly and animoto. I will include a list of links to these tools at the end of this blog. The changes were continuously posted on the course wiki. This was an excellent place to share information about topics, dates, times and links. I also sent our numerous emails keeping the group updated on the process and progress.
The meeting went really well and Dim Dim didn't let us down. This is an excellent tool to use for online conferencing. We could see Robin via web cam and could hear her perfectly from the other side of the world. This course has shown me that anything is possible with the technology we have at our finger tips and this was free!
The meeting was a success, the group was able to text message Robin and ask questions during the meeting and the slideshare was loaded into Dim dim for everyone to see and follow. This is a tool I would use in my teaching and one that seems to be accessible by MAC computers. Dim Dim allowed 3 people to have the microphone at a time. The microphone can be passed onto other. the text messaging allowed people to communiate throughout the presentation. This was good to welcome people and say goodbye when people left the meeting without interupting the speaker. The faciliator (me) made sure I went back and asked the questions that Robin may have missed while presenting and kept a general eye on what was being said in the text messaging column. Links were added to the messaging column so partcipants could access relevant sites. Participants were given a chance at the end of the presentation to ask questions and make any comments about their experiences. I had the feeling from communication that people enjoyed the session and managed to get some new ideas and new websites to visit.
I was unable to record the meeting as Robin was afraid that recording would place too much pressure on the system and it may crash. Robin is an excellent facilitator with a wealth of knowledge. Robin has supported teachers to implement online tools into their teaching for a number of years and uses this with her own students. Robin has a blog that she is very dedicated to and has written about this meeting. The link is http://www.robinheyden.wordpress.com/ You can access Robin's blog as I did a few months ago and read about her exciting adventures as a science teacher.
This was a fantastic learning experience and taught me about back up plans and flexibility as an online facilitator. It also taught me about advertising the meeting, keeping everyone in the loop and communication via the course wiki. This worked well and everyone was updated quickly. i also used the group email as this normally received a pretty immediate response.
I really enjoyed other students meetings and tried to attend when I could. They were very informative and the guest speakers were very interesting and knowledgeable. I especially enjoyed the meeting about Preschoolers blogging.
Below is a list of online tools that were discussed in my online meeting and you may be interested in investigating these. These have been sent out to the group as a follow up using group email.
I hope these links are helpful. I also gave the group a link to a website that will help you analyse what online tools you may like to experiment with.
Facilitating this meeting had it's challenges but the reward at the end was worth it. I learned a lot from Robin about different online tools that I could use in my teaching and most of these were free and accessible to anyone with a computer and the internet.