Thursday, 14 January 2010

One to One - Online Meeting Plan

Activity - reviewing technologies to use for a small online discussion group

Participants - An associate and consultant

Technologies - Skype ( for audio/video , for screen sharing (presenting), for brainstorming and as a whiteboard

I was meeting with an associate to review what tools could be used to enable a small discussion group to meet together online on a regular basis.

The structure of the meeting was planned to be open. My associate is IT literate but hadn't used any of the technologies prior to the meeting. He managed to use them all however as should be expected there were some hurdles to overcome.

The call was a Skype video call and we spent some time talking about how Skype imports contacts and how the different statuses work. I found it really useful during the meeting having two screens. My second screen was an extended desktop that had Skype on it with the video call and any background applications I needed such as the Yuuguu screen share.

The big reason I used Yuuguu is the simple web invite that requires no software installing.

While screen sharing I showed a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation. I also showed a youtube video which apparently displayed reasonably well much to my amazement.

I showed mindmeister as well and then invited my associate to control my desktop and have a go. Once this had been done I thought it would be useful for us to both access the mindmap from our own desktops. This proved to be more difficult than I had hoped as an account needed setting up for my associate and in the end we decided to leave it until next time. We did have a go at using the Whiteboard tool from Scriblar which worked very nicely and allows for guest access.

This experience underlined the value of people signing up to the technology prior to meeting if you are going to use it. A way around this, as in the case of Scriblar and yuuguu, is using a technology that has guest access or very simple access.

Another factor is that I had deliberately not sent a pre-invite as I didn’t want to cause any confusion about how mindmeister worked until we met and I guess in that situation I could possibly have created an account in advance.

As we plan to take the group development forward as smoothly as possible we are planning a trial presentation where he can focus on the presenting while I manage the technology. Also I will meet 1-1 with the other group members so that they can have a degree of comfort and confidence when we meet together for the first time. Although it is possible for people to learn how to use the technology as a group it can be difficult and distract from the purpose of the meeting.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Developing a presentation

Activity - Collaborating with a colleague to prepare for a presentation
Participants - 2 presenters
Technologies - Skype ( for audio, video and screen sharing. for brainstorming an outline structure

My colleague and I are presenting on developing learner centred eSystems at a conference later this month.

We were due to meet face to face but as we have at least an inch of snow on the side roads and we are in England we had to cancel our face to face meeting ;-) .... however due to our use of collaboration technologies we had a very productive 2 hour meeting online.

We worked through the different modes of the collaboration model (

Firstly we were aware of each other being present on Skype prior to the meeting starting and from there we initiated a call. It felt good to me to be hands free for the meeting so that I could type (or draw) freely.

On this occasion we both had two screens which obviously proved really useful so we could look at two things at once. During the session I typically had the screenshare or mindmap on one screen and a document (or mind map) open on the other.

We started off by developing our planned outline using a mind map I had created on mind meister. This led to discussion via a screenshare within Skype showing some very rough drawings and a section from a book we had contributed to. There were several such mini-presentations of ideas as my colleague developed a bit of the presentation and also drew some useful (much better) diagrams. I found it really useful that we could swiftly change from one person screen sharing to another using the integrated Skype screen sharing.

We finished the session by both working on the mind map structure at the same time and agreeing that we would develop our ideas further before we meet again next week.

Some key benefits:

my colleague lives about 100 miles away and normally we would meet half way, by meeting online we saved time, money and fuel.

We also were able to utilise our own technology during the meeting to it's full rather than use one notebook. This enabled us at times to both work at the same time on different aspects of the presentation.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

New version of Skype includes screen sharing !


The latest version of Skype released on beta includes screen sharing and it is great!!

It is really easy to start and stop sharing your screen and to therefore switch between presenters.

The one downside is that to view a screen share you all need to be on the latest version of Skype the good news is that it works well with Mac or PC.

If you and a colleague don't have the latest version of Skype then I would still recommend for easy access sharing via the Web.