Scribblar added a very powerful feature to its virtual classroom today. With the click of a button in the menu bar teachers can now add educational content from Wolfram Alpha directly on the interactive whiteboard.
Stefan Richter, Founder and CEO of MuchosMedia, the company behind Scribblar, recorded a short video demo in which he shows various types of content from math to history and music.
With the upcoming release of the Dimdim 6 webmeeting, subscribers to the service will get access to some interesting new features.
The focus of those new features is more towards business meetings but nevertheless some of them could also be very useful in an online class environment .
Today WiZiQ launched its newest version of their virtual classroom environment. The new version promises to have a better sound quality, you can stream video of up to four participants, the whiteboard has new features and also the media player got a make over.
But with every upgrade there might come some teething pains so lets do a quick check in case you plan to have a class on WiZiQ, soon.
3) Professionalism Using Skype seems to mix business with personal use, hence using a virtual classroom lifts the professional image.
Alright, reason number three to prefer a virtual classroom over Skype. Continue reading
Last topic on the list for this episode of review:ed was about VoIP. Skype launched a new 5 way video calling feature in beta which will later on become a paid premium feature. The other news about Skype is that the company is considering to display ads in its free service.
Second news item is the acquisition of GIPS by Google which leads to the rumor that Google is actually planning to launch a Skype competitor based on Google Talk, soon. But as Google’s products are all somehow based on ad revenue this service might display ads during calls, too.
2) More control
For better or for worse, in a virtual classroom the teacher has more control over what students look at and sees how they interact with their peers, the chat and with the learning material.
You can argue about this point from an academic and a for profit view, as you can basically for most points on the list. I will argue from the second point, of course.
Almost 10 months ago I hosted the first E-Teachers Conference and in case you are wondering what happened to it, I am working on the launch of the new and revised version .
Anyway, the topic of the event was “Lesson Slides and Virtual Classrooms – do we really need them?”. I would love to share the recording with you but due to some “hick ups” that led to the total crash and burn of the meeting there is none available. Also the second part of the evening that was backed up by eduFire did not record the event properly.
Two take aways from this evening: I am known as Skype fan girl and Heike Philp’s legendary 20 reasons why to prefer a virtual classroom to Skype only in language teaching. This blog post has recently been republished by Stefan Booy on the Myngle blog. I was thinking of writing a quick response to this but the more I thought about it the more it became clear that it can’t be done in just one post.
Hence I decided to give my two cents on every single point in a series of, yes, you guessed it, twenty blog posts starting today with reason number one:
There were already rumors about an update / new version of the WiZiQ classroom for a while and yesterday the teachers of the platform received an email announcing the launch in “less than a month from now”.
In this email you get an overview about the new features and a link that leads you to a demo of the new classroom.
A long awaited feature finally made it in the WiZiQ classroom: screen sharing. According to a survey I made amongst teachers a couple of months ago screen sharing comes directly after voice quality on the must have list for virtual classrooms.
Last week I had the same experience anthropologists must have when they might have found a new species that fills a gap in the family tree of humans.
The missing link in online education has been the seamless group talk right now. You can have great 1o1 teaching over Skype and decent lectures in various online classrooms. But the interaction of a smaller group with seamless talking has been missing so far. But that might have changed now. A Canadian start up might have built the holy grail of online teaching.
Based on the vivid discussion that came up after the ETCon and which is still going on a new metaphor came to my mind today and I want to share it with you, of course.
As “real” life often reflects into the online sphere and vice versa: What if we see Skype, Webmeetings and Virtual Worlds as the Royal Family of Education? I think there are interesting parallels.
This is a guest post of my dear friend and colleague Aniya aka TheEnglishTeacher.
Fuze meeting is an online web tool that lets you host meetings (and of course lessons, need be) so what, you say, well the interesting part about it, is that you can host them via your mobile device, thus being BlackBerry or iPhone wow!!! Having said that it is early days yet (a few teething problems) but this could be a big break through for the future.
To open this new category of useful tools for online teaching and education 2.0 I chose Dabbleboard.
Here are the Top 10 Reasons you should use Dabbleboard:
- Dabbleboard is easy and fun to use. Unlike other whiteboard applications, Dabbleboard feels as natural to use as a marker on a whiteboard, or a pencil on a sheet of paper. Just draw strokes and Dabbleboard will detect most common shapes. Click anywhere and start typing to enter text. And if you need to modify anything you’ve already drawn, all the tools are there right next to the selected objects. No more visiting the toolbar a hundred times just to make a quick diagram!
- Dabbleboard is fast. Since you don’t need to spend time constantly changing tools in the toolbar, you can draw much faster. The natural interface also requires less of your attention, so you can focus on your ideas rather than on the software. Dabbleboard gets out of your way and just lets you draw.
- Dabbleboard is flexible. Everything you draw can be moved, resized, deleted, and replicated. Even freehand strokes. And with unlimited Undo and Redo, you’ll never have to think twice about trying something new.
- Dabbleboard produces pretty drawings. Okay, we admit you don’t need your whiteboard drawings to look like works of art. But other applications that make you scribble with the mouse produce messy drawings that your friends or coworkers would have trouble even understanding. Unlike a marker or a pencil, a mouse is difficult to control precisely, so Dabbleboard steps in and cleans up your strokes for you.
- Dabbleboard lets you easily reuse previously-made drawings. With drag-and-drop simplicity, you can add drawings to your personal library, and copy something from the library to your current drawing. You can even visit the public library and copy drawings others have made. You’ll never have to draw the same thing twice. The more you use it, the more useful Dabbleboard will get.
- Dabbleboard allows sharing and real-time collaboration with anyone anywhere in the world. Your friends and coworkers can view and edit your drawings whenever they like. Or you can log in at the same time to brainstorm ideas together.
- Dabbleboard works with hardware you already have, including your favorite computer. Unlike some other solutions, there’s no need to purchase additional proprietary equipment. You can even use it in a conference room with a projector.
- Dabbleboard works with other software you already use. You can upload images made with other applications and embed them into Dabbleboard drawings. And you can download images made with Dabbleboard for use in other applications. Users with Pro accounts can also download SVG files and open the drawings with Microsoft Visio, Adobe Illustrator, and many more applications.
- Dabbleboard is secure. Unless you make your drawing public, each drawing can only be viewed by those you’ve shared it with, and by no one else. We even make sure no one can guess the location of your drawing by using random 160-bit keys. All users log in securely, and users with Pro accounts access everything securely with SSL.
- Dabbleboard is free! We want to help the world think and communicate visually, and we won’t let a little money get in our way. We also offer Pro accounts at reasonable prices.
Today I had my first public session on WiZiQ.com.
Public sessions are classes with several attendees that are offered by teachers on the WiZiQ platform for free. There is a huge variety of topics available, from languages to mathematics, from exam preparation to spiritual guidance. Continue reading