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My thoughts as a newbie

I am always looking for ways to help build communities and find ways to communicate. Especially when it comes to connecting parents and schools. So when I happened upon Webcast academy and Edtechtalk I knew that there were some good things going on in this community. I am technically literate and a have a good knowledge of how to use the Internet and related technologies. Thankfully the door was opened and I dove right into a world of screencasts, broadcasts and exciting visionary people to help me out. Despite my skills, some days I felt totally overwhelmed and challenged. I was told it would be like that.

As I set up the Parent Involvement webcast, Parents as Partners, it became very clear that the audience that the web cast would be targeting would need some hand holding. Parents. teachers administrators 35-?? with 2 or 3 children and maybe a few grand kids. Like all learners they don't like to raise their hand and say they don't know how or don't understand. How many adults go to the back of the class? Many most likely will be computer shy. Any one have the statistics on the capabilities of this age group?

It became clear as I worked with a “listener” that my coaching was needed to help her find the way to the “live” section of the webcast. I have to tell you how proud I was of her tenacity to figure it out. How easy it is to forget what it was like to be new at all this. What it must be like to not know what a media player is. Questioning is Flash a camera setting? Java must be a cup of coffee. What do I do when I am asked to save or run this program? Do I trust this site?

I had to make sure that there were speakers attached to the computer. Simple things we forget to consider when our world revolves around computers. When I prepare for the next webcast I will be spending just as much time making it easy for listeners to participate, as I will be producing the show. This will be a huge barrier to the success of the webcast. Any advice is welcome….


Blogging the Audio Interview in Google Blogger (Google Alerts)

After using Google Alerts the last few days, I have discovered that many audio interviews are post-published as blogs. Meaning, not only chat contributions get coverage as here at the Webcast Academy. There are some very pretty blog examples that are now being crawled by search engines, like Google Alerts, and also offer discussion possibilities. Google Blogger allows the creation of many blog titles that are easily managed within their GUI. A next step would be to convert in a fitting fashion , and then to find an Audio-To-Text or Wave-To-Text software in order to make this transcription process happen faster. James/Eurominuteman

Helping first-timers participate

Lorna, When I think back on the first time I "attended" a webcast (Women of the Web 2.0), I also had some difficulties. There are many options (listen in iTunes, RealPlayer, Windows Media, or the built-in player on the Live page. Now there is Ustream as well.) These options make it convenient for listeners, but can be confusing for first timers. I soon learned to open additional tabs or windows to keep me from being booted out of the chat room. As of about 2 weeks ago, I have both a PC and a Mac, and am noticing differences...not to mention the differences with IE, Firefox, and other browsers. When I invite people to attend a show, I try to give simple directions to help them get (and stay) connected. I give the URL to the Live page, tell them how to log on to the chat, and what to click on for the audio based on what I know about their equipment. Usually if they can find their way to the chat room, they'll be fine, as others can help them find the audio, if needed. Pam Shoemaker, Co-facilitator Class of 2.4

Try Supporting & Promoting Your Event

Check all the process areas:

Administration processes

Core processes

Support processes

Create an invitation and support poster using Google Docs , and include all of the information needed to pick the people up (embedded Wiki links are helpful for basic terms and definitions), then share the publishable link. Add HTML meta-tags to the document. This link may also be used for promotion purposes. Add an RSS feed function from your personal Google Calendar to the poster.

This is a Web 2.0 application for event publication:

They also have a Second Life Group


Bringing your audience along with you

Hi Lorna,

I've been doing some more webcasting with "first-time listeners" myself lately. It's true, there really can't be too much in the way of preparation re the "getting connected" piece for new participants. I found that directing "newbies" to the chat room--and having them locate the "player" buttons--helped familiarize and also confirms they're able to access chat room (i.e., java in place...)

Having a "crew" to help in the chat room with directions, and even "off line" trouble-shooting helps during "game time." Pointing to one or another of shows at may also  help to demystify this whole "webcasting business" although there may be a tendancy to overwhelm if they happen into too busy a chat room "unaccompanied."

Keep up the good work, and you're go to be just fine. From the outset you've recognized the importance of bringing your audience along with you.

Doug Symington Community Animator and intern-webcaster-in-training

blog | by Dr. Radut