Saturday, February 16, 2008

teaching virtual hell

I dutifully signed up for a wimba training session, checked the hour conversion from the States to NZ twice, signed in to my distant classroom and waited, ticking past one o'clock i discovered my capacity to travel time and space was faulty and came to the realisation that there also was a dateline to accommodate. I missed wimba 101, celebrating Waitangi day.
A week later I scheduled in for wimba 102.
A time lord in training, this time with success.
However, traversing time and relevant dimensions in space (tardis) isn't all there is. I wanted to know about teaching with voice tools accessible through the net, through blackboard, since thats what my institution utilizes.

This was the session where all the other teachers/lecturers present could smile politely in their unseen spaces and think "there but for the grace of God"...
We had, i think, all been there.
At least in our nightmares.
I am left feeling cautious re experiencing the same in a virtual reality.
Significant time was spent in ensuring audio links worked, phone in connections established for the people whose computer negated audio.
The visuals seemed 'sticky'. My experience of a screen of changes being portrayed on a
whiteboard looked more like a screen of words mashed reminiscent of scrambled eggs.
Having my posting comments text box spontaneously decide to work halfway through i could make a comment that another student gave me a workaround for.
In an hour I learned that the technology takes an hour to sort.
In the last 5 mins I managed to screw up just like any dutiful student could.
Sooo embarrassing on a world stage. While playing with the buttons mimicking the instructions for being a presenter given to another participant I spontaneously took control of the class, and inflicted a cute little wmv the facilitator had in a browser list for mad cats. The class enjoyed it. Being on a mac, I didnt get it; till i opened what downloaded for me....
A great facilitator modelling cool, calm, collected, in the face of adversity. She could have been a time lord.

video courtesy of chris, username ptftulsa.

Closing thought: Future time lords have to get with the times, a telephone box???
Maybe a portaloo....


  1. Wonderful stuff ... brings tears to my eyes ...

    My collaborative online experiences have been equally dire - so much so that I find it hard to pretend anything positive about the MoE's valorising of video conferencing for schools - I just become mute when people seek my opinion - you have neatly revealed where I have gone wrong in this whole thing ... somewhere along the line I have fused my sense of humour ...

  2. Hi Arti, the sense of humour helps differentiate oneself from aliens. When engaging with aliens it helps to recognize the ones from Scaro. If they are from Scaro they have a tendency toward wanting to exterminate anything that is not a clone of themselves.
    I got a sonic screwdriver for Valentines day. But so far the technology i have commanded in this instrument is that it writes... just like a pen... but at new techy prices its just got to be better... I am in awe.
    I have commanded it to write my thesis... but nothings happened... ...yet.