Thursday, September 16, 2010

Reflection: community and isolation

We had a lesson faciliated in DimDim the other day, a free (mostly) synchronous web-based classroom tool. It was fun, and it was impressive to watch / hear the facilitators calmly dealing with some fairly significant technical problems. (When the facilitator transferred controls to the guest speaker we all lost sound / video contact. )

So, I decided that I should try it out, and set up a meeting with a friend in another city. She wanted to talk with me about the content of an assignment. DimDim worked well, I shared a document with her, and I talked, she listened and if there were questions she typed in the chat box. (This I think may take some getting used to... as the faciliator I wanted more feedback from my (single) participant, and a two-way voice (at least, and video preferably) interaction. And! as happened to our faciliators in the FO2010 course, when I gave her control the wheels fell off - more precisely, she lost connection and couldn't get back in). 

So, I say Yay! and I'm really glad to have had the opportunity to use DimDim with the class as a participant - and to then go off and use it myself; and what an amazing example of calm unruffled faciliators quietly working behind the scenes to sort the technical hitches. Very impressed! (because of calm faciliators we felt relaxed within ourselves to chat a bit while we waited - which was neat). (I guess that this is why products like Elluminate and WimbaLive are so expensive... they don't have quite the same vulnerability to bandwidth discrepancies... maybe?) [big happy face]

But Twitter [not very happy face]
For some reason a number of would-be participants were not able to take part in the #FO2010 stream. We spent the session watching what we could of the conversation, but missing such a significant portion that the summary at the end came as a complete surprise... I had no idea that the participants had discussed the content to the extent that a summary could be extracted from the stream. I think now that this must provide me with an inkling of what it must be like to be deaf... if I could ever have any idea... desperately trying to keep up with whatever one can glean from a conversation, and knowing that so much is missing, but not knowing what and not being able to ask, and the conversation swirls on around... it was horribly isolating. I know that the other participants would have included me if they could have... would have welcomed my participation... I felt stupid (an illogical gut response which I observe and then file in the "don't go there" basket).

So... still to decide the usefulness of Twitter for a conversation. I'll set up a conversation with someone and see how it works and let you know.


Sarah Stewart said...

So sorry Twitter was not a good experience for you...not at all sure why that was. This was the stream I was following - you can look back and see the conversation:

Malcolm Lewis said...

Thanks for your kind comments regarding facilitation in the DimDim session.

It was a bummer about the second #FO2010 twitter event. It was frustrating for all of us and the unexpected and unexplained difficulties with the #hastag search was a distraction top the conversations. We also missed your full participation. I realise now that those of use with F02010 twitter list should have tried retweeting you tweets. That may have made them visible.

I realised we did not have a Plan B.

I've had a some great opportunistic twitter conversations with few people in past few weeks because I posted what I doing-thinking about. They have been really useful professional conversations and very timely.

I hope you continue to play with twitter. I'm finding it a tool of amazing power and promise.

Sarah Stewart said...

You're right Malcom...I did not have a plan B because I assumed Twitter would not fail like it did...that will 'learn' me LOL You're also right...we should have re-tweeted those who could not get through...I just didn't think of it...oh well...yet another learning experience :)

Subhash said...

I am sorry to hear about the problems you encountered(witnessed) using Dimdim. I will be more than glad to help solve these problems for both you and the facilitator of the 1st program. If you don't mind drop me a note with your Dimdim id and I will reach out.


Kim Mc said...

Hi Katherine, I can empathise with your frustration about the Twitter event, I too was 'locked out' of the stream, however I successfully participated in the session on the previous night & really enjoyed it. It is a very different method of communication (I am not sure if 'one-dimenstional' is the right way to describe it) to Elluminate but I am sure that we will find a use for it down the track. I am getting into Twitter now and happy to chat anytime @kimmy_mc.