The two-and-a-half-hour nightmare commute after OpenPD last night was, for me, an educational time of reflection. With the thousands of other folks that apparently could find no better place to enjoy a good snowstorm, I sat in my car wondering what we had learned during last night’s class.
Here’s a quick summary of what I learned:
- A group activity creating Google Presentations can be a definite challenge if members of your groups are spread over the globe.
- In such an activity, establishing communication is a very important first step.
- It would be very nice if the entire Google Docs suite would incorporate the same collaborative chat feature that is employed in the Spreadsheets sub-application. Sheesh, we can chat while working on a spreadsheet – why can’t we chat while working on a presentation or word processing document?
- Given that chat isn’t integrated into Google Presentations, we should have set up a separate chat-room ahead of time for each group. That way we wouldn’t have needed to do the communications shuffle for 15 minutes before participants were able to dive into the project.
- The Meebo chat-room we had embedded on our class Get Connected page worked great – until a troll or two joined in on our party. Last night’s attempts to keep unwanted rif-raf out of our class discussions were frustrating, to say the least. In the end, I learned that public Meebo rooms may not be the answer I had originally thought.
- After switching from the Meebo chat-room to the Ustream equivalent, we thought we had out-smarted the pranksters – until yet another troll joined us in the Ustream chat. It wasn’t until too late that I learned how to assign moderators for the Ustream chat. I also learned that moderators must be participating in the Ustream chat on the Ustream channel itself (moderating won’t work if you’re using an embedded chat-room).
On a positive note, check out the presentations (below) that our three groups created. Not bad for teachers with little Google Docs experience and little time.
- I learned that Jen Wagner has a great sense of humor. After our initial experiences with the Meebo chat-room, we were all a little frustrated with famegirl, the persistent troll that we just couldn't get to quit. It was after we had switched to Ustream that Jen decided to pull a fast one: she briefly switched her nickname to famegirl, causing quite a roar!