Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Back to the Past: Virtual Visit

Well, I meant to post about this ages ago! I had a virtual visit with Lake Wilcox PS in Richmond Hill, Ontario way back on February 13th. Hmmm. Is 13 unlucky? Can virtual visits go wrong? Read on, dear reader.

When we attempted to do our test run the day before we discovered that the school's servers "shut out" Skype and iChat (technically the crucial command in each program is ghosted due to school security restrictions). There was no way around this (that we could quickly fix) so the only way to do a presentation was to try Adobe Connect Live. So I downloaded it and attempted to learn the program (it has some interesting features, including a smart board which will display images). The next morning I did an hour long presentation to grade 7 and another hour long presentation to grade 8.

This is what they saw:


Alas, everything was quite slow. I am told that sometimes I sounded like a chipmunk. Other times like Darth Vader (usually I'm somewhere in-between). The students and Mr. McInnis were patient and the problems were kind of entertaining at times. A student would stand in front of the camera and ask a question. I would hear it in real time but my answer would take at least 15 seconds to get there. So the student would repeat the question. Then suddenly my answer would arrive blasting out the speakers and making the student's hair stand on end. It was perhaps like talking to someone on the moon.

It was great to connect with the students. But the slowness of the connection is either the fault of the servers or comes from the complexity of Adobe Connect Live. Or perhaps we just weren't using it properly.

Of course, won't they be surprised if I visit Lake Wilcox PS in person and they find out that I usually pause 15 seconds between answers and I sound like a chipmunk...


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