First Webcast Experience

A few weeks ago, I posted a short item about how useful the EdTechWeekly (ETW) podcast is, especially compared to EdTechTalk (ETT). Both podcasts can be found on the EdTechTalk site. ETW is a roundup of interesting online resources, news, and events in the world of educational technology. In the half-hour show, the hosts easily go through a dozen or more topics. They highlight the resources available, briefly discuss how they might be used, compare them with other, similar tools, and provide links for more information. The listener can simply look at the delicious links to get more information on any of the topics discussed.

CollaborateEd Tech Talk takes a more in-depth look at a particular topic or issue. It includes more perspectives, because people from all over the world participate in both the Skypecast and the chat room. I made the point that this is less useful for me, and that this show hasn’t been breaking a lot of new ground lately. The aggregators picked up on the post, and I think Dave and Jeff were a little offended.

I typically listen to both shows in my car a week or two after they’re recorded. Last night, I actually remembered when the shows were being webcast, and tuned in live. I don’t have Skype installed at the moment, so I couldn’t participate in the audio conference. But I could listen to the audio and participate in the text chat that takes place at the same time. The experience was completely different from that of listening to the podcasts.

Ironically, the things I liked about the EdTechWeekly podcast were frustrating in the live show. I started out fine, trying to follow the links and look at the sites while listening to the audio. But after a couple minutes, I found I had six browser tabs open, I was waiting for things to load, I hadn’t looked at the page for the last topic, and they were moving on to the next one already. I also hadn’t commented in the chat room on anything. I was overwhelmed. I reverted back to just mentally bookmarking things I’m interested in, so I can look at them later. I also realized that I’m going to have to listen to the audio again to get everything useful out of it. That’s not a bad thing, but it was hard to keep up.

There wasn’t supposed to be an EdTech Talk last night, but the chat room discussion really got rolling, and Dave decided to record one. This was a lot more useful, because everyone was interacting in real time. Taking part in a discussion is a lot more fun than just listening to it. I did manage to get quite a bit of, err, constructive criticism for my district’s web filtering guidelines. I still don’t think the show was particularly goundbreaking. We didn’t solve any problems. But the discussion had more value live than it will as a podcast.

I think I was initially a little confused about the goals of each show. ETT is a record of a conversation. It may have some use to the asynchronous audience, but its primary purpose is served in the initial webcast. On the other hand, ETW is arguably more useful as a podcast. Sure, people online during the show can contribute ideas, but for the most part, it’s a broadcast. Now that they’re trying harder to point to the delicious tags and mention the sites they’re talking about, they have a great show that will be useful to lots of educators and technology professionals.

One thought on “First Webcast Experience

  1. Hi John…

    You’re right, I suppose, the show wasn’t particularly goundbreaking (sorry couldn’t resist! đŸ™‚ ) And no, we didn’t really take offense to your criticism that the show was not particularly groundbreaking recently. There is an inference, there, that we were, at one time, more groundbreaking than we are now, which I suppose is encouraging, but groundbreaking was never really the goal of the show. There is some value, somewhere on the long tail, for the conversation. For people to hear what others are talking about and to measure their own thoughts and theories against them. So, whether we’re talking about banning kids from using myspace, or subjective vs. objective knowledge, rhizomatics, servers, LMSs, Open Source, or what have you, we’re having that conversation.

    We do realize exactly what you’ve discovered. The long tail is a many splendored… ah… tail. Some people love the longer, drawn out discussion, some people love the brainstorm format. You, clearly, are coming for the information and like the snappy bits that come from ETW, and get your sense of community from participating… which is cool. But I don’t know if its ‘primary purpose’ is served in the webcast. It’s a good question I suppose. Certainly far more people have listened asynchronously than have listened synchronously… if that says anything.

    Look forward to seeing you in the chatroom again sometime soon…

    cheers. dave.

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