Thursday, 31 March 2011

Online conferencing tools

Following our forays into Elluminate, we are encouraged to explore the conferencing and VoIP markets a bit further. It was suggested that we take a look at Google Talk, Windows Live or Skype, but I've used all of these for work or leisure quite extensively, so this post is going to be a quick romp through a few other tools I've heard about recently (but not used, so please don't treat these as recommendations!).

Skype in the Classroom, a dedicated teacher network, was launched this week. The aim seems to be to allow teachers to find other teachers using skype, to share their interests and collaborate on teaching and learning projects. More information is available here (where I heard about this), and of course from Skype itself.

VenueGen is an online, 3D virtual meeting and collaboration space. You can set up large and small events, and present content. Participants have an avatar (like Second Life) and can move around the space. As I said, I've not had a chance to try it out yet (though a free trial is available, and it would be fun to try with some other students if anyone is interested).

The look of it, and the features, remind me of Teleplace, which I have explored and blogged about before.

Next up is Vyew, which is another online collaboration space. Its feature list looks rather similar to some of Elluminate's offering, including desktop sharing, screen capture tools, white-boarding, built in VoIP, text chat, and shared and break out rooms. Again, I've not had an opportunity to try it, but it has a free version (ad-supported) which can be used by up to 10 people, so there is scope for having a go here.

There is an enormous list of of collaboration tools out there, which are more or less suited to educational purposes. I'd be really interested to hear experiences from others about their place in elearning today.

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