Saturday, 7 July 2007

Photostory at a distance

Fortunately, I managed to avert the problems as we had in the live session (i.e. Photostory wouldn't run because MediaPlayer was too old a version so had to download new MediaPlayer etc) by asking the IT Tech staff at Geraldton and Albany to install Photostory3 before the sessions so we could go straight into it.

Because I was not able to practise teaching the session with Elluminate during the live session because so much time had been wasted with MediaPlayer, I didn't know what to expect , but fortunately, once again Sue Waters was available to help (even though she was on leave) and we managed to trial the application-sharing capabilities of Elluminate and to our joy, it was possible to see what was happening the other end.

The Thursday session went very smoothly (we knew Photostory was installed and Elluminate functioned) and I was able to conduct the lesson from the safety of my own home (isn't this what we all want to do?) and Marnie produced a story about her students' trip to the bush.

Friday was a bit more problematic and after a delay due to headsets not working in Albany (thanks John for sorting that out on the last afternoon of term) and in Perth (to get out of the way, I went to Lab 2 with its ancient steam-turbine driven machines but had to give up due to the gas escaping froom the valves and causing hissing in the headset and so returned to my PC in the office where my monologue made it difficult for others to work), we started. It had been easy with individual tuition in Geraldton on Thursday, but it seemed that the work was increased exponentially in Albany as there were five down there all making their individual stories. Once again, Sue W, who was there to observe again, aided and abetted and suggested the five be put into separate Elluminate sub-rooms (this means that they can only hear others when they are in the same room) and work at their own speed. While they did this Sue and I went from room to room, asking them to application share (too long hereafter jargoned to appshare) so we could see their progress. Delay was longer than Perth-Perth or even Perth-Geraldton so often I could see what Jill or Lillian was doing and advised them to click on the rainbow icon, but in fact they had already done so and were miles ahead doing something else. It also seemed very intensive to jump from room to room and help out; repeating the same instructions to each person over their shoulder as you go round a real room is not as exhausting as doing the same when there is a couple of seconds gap and you can't see the person's face. Sue was assisting me here as co-moderator but even with an average of only 2.5 participants each, it was tiring.

However, we completed the session with an average grade of "C" (Jill brought the average down with her "E" because of no mike) and everyone had the seeds of a digistory (you know I hate contracted portmanteau words but I am realising that it is easier to create these than type out the full version - of course I could also write it in Word and use Edit>Replace {maybe next time}) . I understand some of you had already had a session on Photostory, but I think you learnt some extra useful tips with zooming and transitioning etc.

Things that came up with Elluminate:
Problems moving people to rooms: Elluminate does not allow instant right-click on names; so left-click to select and then right click to action.
Giving instructions: often difficult due to delay and participant has already done it (or worse something else) before you have seen it. It was not possible to see the completed video through appshare - I will have to investigate more the Media Library function in Elluminate.
Individual rooms: successful in being able to see what one person is doing without disturbing the others; but have to remember to click mike and re-request appshare every time moderator flits from room to room.
People lost: sometimes people left alone in a room did not know how to proceed and it took time to go to help them after disengaging from one to go to another.

It will be some time before we meet again because of the holidays so you have plenty of opportunity to complete a superior photostory - next time we will look at disseminating these so others can view them.

NB If you have any questions over the break, don't worry about interrupting me if I am online on GTalk or Skype (klopstockalling); I am quite willing to assist.

PS (5 hours later) Just noticed that Sue W has also posted her comments here.

1 comment:

Sue Waters said...

Nice overview of the session. Always happy to help and it really does help me with my Elluminate skills.

Looking forward to checking out their videos. Are you mailing them chocolate frogs for their hard work? :)