From Daniel Christian: Fasten your seatbelts! An accelerated ride through some ed-tech landscapes.

From DSC:
Immediately below is a presentation that I did for the Title II Conference at Calvin College back on August 11, 2011
It is aimed at K-12 audiences.


Daniel S. Christian presentation -- Fasten your seatbelts! An accelerated ride through some ed-tech landscapes (for a K-12 audience)


From DSC:
Immediately below is a presentation that I did today for the Calvin College Fall 2011 Conference.
It is aimed at higher education audiences.


 Daniel S. Christian presentation -- Fasten your seatbelts! An accelerated ride through some ed-tech landscapes (for a higher ed audience)


Note from DSC:

There is a great deal of overlap here, as many of the same technologies are (or will be) hitting the K-12 and higher ed spaces at the same time. However, there are some differences in the two presentations and what I stressed depended upon my audience.

Pending time, I may put some audio to accompany these presentations so that folks can hear a bit more about what I was trying to relay within these two presentations.

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From DSC:
Yesterday, one of the organizations within our college hosted a conference call using Wimba Classroom.  For those of you unfamiliar with Wimba Classroom, it’s really a set of web-based collaboration tools that offer such functionality as:

  • Videoconferencing
  • Audio-conferencing
  • Interactive whiteboard space
  • Chat
  • Application sharing capabilities

(Last summer, Blackboard purchased both Elluminate and Wimba Classroom and have since created Bb Collaborate 11 from these two product lines.)

What I’ve learned about Wimba Classroom is that it’s best used as a Skype-on-steroids type of setup. That is, when one remote person is communicating with other remote persons — and all parties use headphones with attached microphones on them for their audio outputs/inputs. It is best when none of the participants are a group of people sitting in one room.  I say this because when you have a group of people in one location and you want to use VOIP-related technologies (i.e. for “free” communications), then you need to have a set of speakers powerful enough to cover the room.  However, the audio output from the speakers can present some seriously-frustrating issues with the microphone in that room — especially if any participant has the Lock Talk feature turned on (feedback/echoing occur here).

I’m very disappointed with Wimba for not having innovated more here over the last 1-2 decades — they’ve been in the business quite a while before it was known as Wimba.  Perhaps Blackboard Collaborate 11 will address some of these problems and introduce some noise-cancelling software to eliminate these sorts of communication frustrations.

Now, I’ve lost another internal customer and I’m forced into the “Have you driven a Ford lately?” mode with these folks; as any experienced Instructional Technologist or ID will tell you, this is a veeeeryyy frustrating and disappointing place to be in.

The bright side to this situation is our Implementations Consultant — who has been in my shoes before and knows what that’s like to be there.  He’s been a big help through the last 2-3 years. He recommended some different microphones that may help better address some of these issues and I thought that I would pass this information along in case it’s helpful to someone else out there:


The Snowball microphone -- for when you have a group of people in one location and want to use Wimba Classroom


Good microphone for working with Wimba Classroom when one GROUP of people are sitting in one location talking to others remotely


I must be honest though — I’m seriously considering a lobbying effort to move our college away from using Wimba/Bb Collaborate 11 and towards WebEx Meeting Center or Adobe Connect.  (Big Blue button and some others may be on the table as well, but my initial-but-not-completely-up-to-date guess is that other products don’t offer the same level of quality as WebEx or Connect.)

In retrospect (hindsight’s always 20-20, right?), I should have not been pursuaded by Wimba’s pitch that they focus solely on the education space — as that perspective may not be worth bragging rights these days (I’m constantly reminded that the education space doesn’t innovate as well as some other sectors/industries do).

Anyway…hopefully, this posting will help someone out there.  Also, it is highly possible that my relevant skillsets need further enhancements here! So feel free to give me some further education — I’m always up for expanding my learning ecosystem! 🙂



GoTo Meeting, Centra, Wimba, and other web conferencing solutions…be afraid, be very afraid — from Kaplan EduNeering by Karl Kapp


PowerPoint is slowly starting to broaden its capabilities and will, I predict, soon infringe on some well known software applications in the field of e-learning such as…web conferencing tools (and others).

This video is one of the first inroads PowerPoint is making into the Web Conferencing software and I don’t think they are going to stop here.

Will it be PowerPoint 2014 with full capabilities and robust conferencing, when will they announce a more robust authoring capability? Will PowerPoint ever be SCORM compliant…..?

Rich Internet Applications for Language Learners -- CLEAR Spring 2011 Newsletter

In 2006, CLEAR launched its “Rich Internet Applications for Language Learning” initiative. Web-based tools were designed to offer functionality that is beneficial to language learning, while exploring how technology can enhance language teaching. This article discusses the design principles behind the RIA initiative, explains how the tools are intended to be used, and shares some examples of classroom use.


From DSC:
The article mentions tools such as Wimba (now a part of Bb Collaborate), VoiceThread, and others.


Alternative web conferencing solutions to Dimdim — from

Also see:


From DSC:
I would also suggest looking at Wimba Classroom if you are in the higher ed space. It handshakes seamlessly with Moodle and Bb Learn for example.

2012: Minnesota Will Require Job Videos for Teaching Applicants

Global Education Conference -- free, online, begins 11/15

Sad news… removed voice recording feature, but there are some good alternatives! — from Toy to Cool: Cell Phones in Learning blog by Liz Kolb

From DSC:
Liz put together a nice list of potential tools to use to record digital audio. (Additional tool: Wimba Voice is another great tool that integrates nicely with Moodle and Bb CMS’s…but Wimba needs to bring the price waaaaay down w/ that tool.)

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Students go to cyber high school

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Virtual office hours

Using Wimba Classroom to hold virtual office hours

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Upcoming “Distinguished Lecture Series” from Wimba

Immersive Technology Training
Learn how UNCW has been able to get majority and late-adopting faculty and staff to utilize synchronous learning technologies by providing an immersive advanced training.
August 16, 2010 2:00 pm EDT
Wimba Study Break: Wimba Stretches Pedagogical Boundaries: Peer Teaching Across Two Institutions
Learn how two professors at different universities used Wimba Classroom to create optimal learning environment for students to interact through peer teaching.
September 29, 2010 1:00 pm EDT
— from Wimba by Matt Wasowski
As more than 500 of you know, there has been a groundswell in the last 12 months about wanting to use virtual classroom technology for lecture capture.  This was never more evident than yesterday when I had half-a-thousand educators from schools of all shapes, sizes, and locations register to learn about how they can conduct lecture capture via Wimba.
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Bb+Elluminate+Wimba: What I’m hearing — from Bb’s Ray Henderson

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Today, we’ve announced that Elluminate, Wimba, and Blackboard will join forces to bring together the leading technology products for synchronous learning and collaboration – and the minds that created them – in what we hope will be a major step forward to pursue new innovation.

See also:

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