I never was a big fan of most integrated “webinar style” distance education tools like Elluminate Live or Tegrity, but part of the reason may have been that they require such extraordinarily strong moderators to be successful. My most recent experience was as a guest speaker with a group 50 K-12 administrators and technical specialists, and I’m closer now to being a believer. It’s amazing how many different activities are taking place simultaneously in one of these sessions:
- Live video of the featured speaker.
- Each of the 50 people has a microphone and can raise their hand to speak.
- Online white board and application sharing with private screens and public screens
- File Transfer
- Both moderated and public chat
- The session is being archived.
- Pollls, Quizes, Emoticons
Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach was the moderator of my session, and I was amazed at her ability to juggle all those inputs–bringing people in the conversation, troubleshooting microphone volume problems,giving direction to the other moderators. Dave Warlick participated in the fireside chat for the K12Online conference, and he shared my amazement.
I personally applaud, once again, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, who served masterfully as the session moderator. She was the perfect host. I can’t help but picture her with wires coming out of her ears, and light flashing on her forehead, because she was managing an enormous number of people, and handling the heading and air conditioning at the same time — and our voices, our applause, EVERYTHING ! Outstanding Job!
Twenty-first century education is going to need specialists who can design and manage the complexity of this kind of learning activity. These teaching tools have amazing capabilities, but very few of us brought up in traditional settings have the knowledge or the skills to make the most of them. If you haven’t done this kind of activity before, check out the archive to get a sense of the complexity.