So what is a Skypecast? A free (as the old saying goes, â€œFree is a good price!â€) conference call basically â€¦ only better. When I saw Wesâ€™s request for participants I went to Skypeâ€™s web site and downloaded the free software â€¦ which was a breeze by the way, then answered a few questions like login name and password and maybe 1 or 2 others â€“ 5 minutes tops and probably less than that. Wes had a link on his blog to the exact Skypecast, when you get there it tells you the name of the Skypecast and what time it is scheduled for. At the correct time I opened Skype, went to Wesâ€™s Skype page, clicked on the link that said something like â€œJoin This Skypecastâ€ and I could hear voices. A window opens that shows the screen names of everyone attending and that was that.
We had a great conversation that lasted for over 2 hours. And get this … not one of us had attended NECC 2006 – but we had all participated virtually through all the various blog entries, podcasts, vidcasts, and so on offered by the convention and individuals. So we disussed an event none of us physically attended but still participated in at a certain level and shared our thinking about it. One of the coolest things was that several people joined in the Skypecast that were not teachers or edtech people and they added seamlessly to the conversation and had great insights because they weren’t educators or edtech people. Some of us stayed until the end and others came and went. A few popped up and listened in, decided this was not for them and went away. Imagine using this to connect teachers, students, experts â€¦. you get the picture.
One way this is different than a phone call is that because you are already using your computer to make the connection, your computer is right there to make notes on, look up web pages that others are discussing, Wes even downloaded software to record the conversation during the Skypecast, left for about 2 minutes to install it, came back on and recorded the rest for his podcast â€“ but I should not steal Wesâ€™s thunder â€“ you can hear it all for yourself, Wes has notes and links for you, but most important I encourage you to join in on future Skypecasts and keep the conversation going!
Learning is messy!
Update: David Warlick just posted about reveling in the conversations at NECC 2006, but also lamenting those that he missed. Dave this post is about a way to help keep those conversations going and maybe even having those that you missed!