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Online Presentation Blues January 19, 2006

Posted by Michael McVey in Information, Online Tools.
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doyon   Yesterday I gave up my chair to let Juanita Doyon sit in front of my webcam and field questions from high school journalism students from across Tucson. At least it was supposed to work that way.

Juanita is the head of Mothers Against WASL and was a candidate for Washington state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction in the last election. WASL is the Washington Assessment of Student Learning. She is widely known as the Button Queen for making all manner of anti-WASL buttons that have been widely distributed.

One of my colleagues, Rebecca Ballenger, coordinated the presentation. Using a technology called Breeze, we were able to set up a chat area, an interactive webcam presentation, and we even uploaded and prepared a PowerPoint presentation for sharing with online participants.

During a test of the system, the audio sounded like she was talking into a tin can. However, an audio adjustment feature of Breeze cleared up the sound so it was quite clear. Actually, I found the quality of the little Logitech camera superb. Three weeks before the presentation date we invited participants to test out the system to ensure they could access the Breeze pages though their school’s firewall. We invited them to leave messages behind to show they had visited the site. Several student journalists left their marks during that time so we anticipated a decent showing.

At the appointed time, we sat and chatted and waited. We chatted about school leadership, Juanita’s run for Superintendent, Washington versus Arizona and attitudes about education, and high stakes testing. I wish someone had actually shown up online for the discussion. Ah well. At least we had a pleasant conversation and her face-to-face presentations were well attended.

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