The blogoshere and twitterverse have all been in an uproar over the recent use of UStream. Will Richardson invited all from twittervese to join him on UStream at University of Prince Edward Island’s New Media Institute, where he was giving a keynote address (watch it again here.) Will literally let the chatrooms have a say in some of his keynote. Not only did he demonstrate the power of Twitter and connected educators, he also showed us the power of UStream. I am amazed to realize I was able to sit through the presentations that were streamed that day, and even participate in the backchannel of information from the chats.
There have been several instances of the blogosphere participating in these impromptu get together’s, but as Will pointed out tonight, with this broadcast allowing only one way conversations except the chat feature, it is still limited. Skype can at least allow a conference call where several can be included in a conversation, and best, if Yugma-enhanced Skype is used, the one who began the conference call can share their desktop, thus allowing for demonstrations of computer applications. Darren Draper the other night had a class, and invited anyone interested to come and see Google Docs and other social network tools used, literally walking us through, and inviting us into his presentation, using our questions as a guide for helping others learn the program and sharing a knowledge base that really helped me. It just demonstrated to me the power of a network and shared knowledge and having conversation to enhance my learning like nothing I had ever experienced before!
Will’s impromptu get together the other night at a restaurant on Clyburn Street in Chicago (that included David Jakes and Steve Dembo in the video—and about 40 participants in the chat–see the chat archive here) and the one tonight with his nephew-in-law David Walker (and about fifteen chatters) really enhanced my understanding more. John Pederson created a wiki that streamed his Ustream and Will’s so we could see both Will & David in one stream and IJohn in the other, but none of us could figure out how to get IJohn’s audio going. But to see folks posting suggestions in the chat, and all working together to do some trial and error testing from literally all over the world was fascinating.
The first time I heard of Ustream was from Dean Shareski. It MUST have been a twitter b/c I could not find it in his blog, but I distinctly remember visiting a UStream to watch a puppy in a crate who was whining, crying, and distinctly unhappy—I want to say it was his daughter’s new puppy. It was rather cute and sort of funny. I thought it was neat that we could get a live glimpse inside his house, and my only thought then was that this could give a parent a way to follow what was happening in a classroom, w/o really being intrusive. But I couldn’t think of a single teacher who I knew that would agree to this method of observation. But atleast UStream could be the answer to my dilemma from the BLC conference, where I couldn’t go, but did get to be involved vicariously through the Skype chats that were happening. UStream could literally bring the conference right into my living room. Next best thing to being there. (Wonder how long before conference planners manage to lock down the UStreams?)
Last, in the chat tonight we made some comparisons to Skype, and most agreed Skype is better for a two-way virtual face to face. Someone inquired why Will kept looking up, and he shared that he had a projector there at home and had the stream and chat projected big on the wall for them. I shared that my mom has a projector too, and we use Skype to talk. My Mom puts the projector on for skype (and to share family pics) when a large group is at her house (and she is 74). Okay, I nearly fainted when Will was quite impressed with that! And even more impressive to me—he called me “Cathy!!” You see, in the chat, I am listed as cnelson. So how does Will know me by my first name too? WOOT! I’ve been noticed by a big wig in the blogosphere!