Okay, so I participated in my first web conferencing session…
And, my mind was blown.
It is so cool.
I have never done something like that before. I didn’t know what to expect. I’m not going to lie, at first it was a little overwhelming. There is someone speaking, with slides – which is a lot to take in. Then, there’s also an ongoing chat between participants. At first, I found this chat really distracting. I was trying to read what everyone was writing and I’d miss parts of what Dean was saying. However, I learned to listen for what was important and devote less time to following everything that was said in the chat.
There are HUGE benefits to learning this way. For one, you can have “your toes in the sand” as Dean put it. You can learn online in a web conferencing setting from virtually anywhere. That is unreal.
It is also neat that you get to chat with the other participants. Not only can you learn from anywhere, but you learn with other people. Classes by distance learning or correspondence are usually a solo thing, but this tool allows interaction between participants.
The only thing I really had trouble with, as mentioned before, was paying attention to the right things… or spreading my attention proportionally. It just took me a few minutes to get the hang of it. It is like what a lot of second-language learners go through in listening exercises: they are trying so hard to write detailed notes that they miss what is being said or shown. It’s something that comes with practice.
I could definitely learn this way. Like I said, it takes some getting used to, but it was still a really awesome experience. I guess in learning this way, you’re giving up the face-to-face. However, you’re really not giving up any sense of community – it is right there! There is something really neat about coming together with a group of strangers in that setting and still feeling a part of community.
The topic tonight was “sharing” – something that has really caught my interest lately. ECMP 355 has really changed my ideas in a lot of ways. Not necessarily changed them, but expanded them. There are so many things presented that I have never considered before, and that are so relevant for my career as a teacher. This idea of sharing is new to me. I really started thinking about after watching RIP: A Remixer’s Manifesto. It is absolutely amazing the creation that takes place through sharing and borrowing and adapting ideas. I love the concept of open information. I love the potential that it holds for learning and collaboration. It’s a new concept for me, but one that has already been integrated into my thinking in these last few months.
Overall, it was really positive experience. I look forward to participating in a web conference again 🙂
PS – For the record, it took me over an hour to write this because I couldn’t get off twitter…. Dear lord.