Thursday, May 15, 2008
Imagine a classroom, where at any point in time, the students can interact with one another about the material being presented (or where they can engage in discussion on more important topics!). A place where 'speaking during the lesson' is not only allowed, but encouraged... This is the essence of the Ustream.tv classroom for remote participants at TLt Summit 2008 currently taking place in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Although I've been a virtual attendee at a handful of distant conference experiences this year, the TLt event has been at least as memorable as Educon 2.0. In parachuting in, I'm coming to value the back-channel discussions at least as much as the presentations. Even though the parallel discussions are disorganized and random, it is easy to see how a conference could take advantage of this technology, engaging both on site participants, and remote educators.
Part of the attraction for me is that this event has attracted the attention of many from the Twittersphere, including a number of well-known Canadian edu-bloggers, and I find myself wondering what might happen if facilitators or co-hosts were to become more actively involved in prodding online participants to consider key questions/issues.
Earlier this year, I shared the story on SlideCasting 2.0 that has the potential to extend discussions and deep thinking beyond the timeframes of a given lecture; This week I've learned that even 'off-topic' discussions can be very enriching for participants!
Sample Back-Channel Chat from Stephen Downes presentation.
The Teacher 2.0 Podcast episode on this topic is now available.
Photo Credits: "Jen sets up the UStream" and "Audience" by Dean Shareski