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.