Edublogs webinar overview – “Is this video worth watching virtually?”


Apologies all for the delay in publishing this overview – a combination of #RSCON3 at the weekend and preparing professional development sessions for colleagues has kept me from finishing this post. This was an incredibly useful session at least for me! I am frequently irritated by videos that take forever to load when I click on them and as a consequence I rarely view embedded videos. Although the purpose of this session was to explain how to re-size videos appropriately so that they could be used practically in a virtual classroom eg Elluminate context I think that there are much wider applications for anyone uploading video for others to view. Phil did a brilliant job particularly as he was also coping with the idiosyncracies of the Elluminate replacement – Blackboard collaborate. Checkout the recording for the full session.

The Session

Throughout the session Phil showed us, and discussed, a number of examples of different sized files and talked about the impact on resolution. One of the issues we face with video is the need for trade-offs between size on the screen and file size which affects download time.

Next there was quick look at some of the file formats in use with reference to the need to choose one of the very common ones to ensure that the majority of viewers will have an appropriate player. We were introduced to Phil’s favourite video player/converter – the VLC Media Player – a free download.

The formal part of session ended with a demonstration of the conversion process and a look at the need to experiement a little to find out what works best. However there was some continuing discussion and experimentation with the new Blackboard Collaborate interface – including a collection of images posted on the whiteboard.


I know I will refer back to the content of this session because one of my objectives for the near future is to explore and use video more often. Because of issues with bandwidth and download costs for my students it has always been something I have tended to avoid apart from occasional links to pre-existing videos. However if I can produce videos that are not too demanding on infrastructure I will use them more because they can add an extra dimension for my students.

Next Webinar

Our next session is an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday August 4th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday August 5th at 7am West Aus, mid morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual Elluminate room. This is one of our fortnightly unconference sessions where we invite you to bring along your “hot topics” and “burning issues” for our poll on the topic

Overview Edublogs Serendipity webinar – Web2.0 tools for activities

Edublogs Awards!

NominatedBestEdWebinarSeriesWell voting time for Edublogs Awards is nearly up! I have just felt so pleased and honoured that the Edublogs Live webinars were shortlisted in the “Best Educational Webinar Series” category. To check out the nominations and then perhaps vote for our Edublogs Live webinars then follow the link. Thank you so much to those who nominated and to those who may already have voted! We aim to be a friendly place for educators from around the globe to learn together; find out more about using the interactive potential of Elluminate; and have an opportunity to present a Fine Focus session.


We had three topics to choose from, two of these were from the wallwisher. The final consensus was to look at learning activities & Web2.0 tools, but also to have a “play” with some of the moderator tools in Elluminate. This was a great recorded Serendipity unconference webinar. The main topic “designing learning activities to leverage available Web2.0 tools” came from our Wallwisher and so didn’t have a “sponser” in the session. These are always interesting as the person posting the topic is not present to ask for an expansion of their thoughts. Instead we started with our interpretation and worked from there. In the session we also had a brief look at moderating Elluminate sessions – giving everyone moderator privileges and a chance to “play”

The Session

Once we had decided on the topic we started with a quick whiteboarding of what we understood it to mean.


There was also audio and text chat discussion around this with a feeling that those of us present would start with a learning activity and then choose a tool to suit the activity rather than choose a tool and then make an activity that used it. We moved on to consider some activities and tools, again using the whiteboard. This time we split the board into two columns – we put activities on one side, tools on the other and linked them with lines. Of course many tools are usable for more than one kind of activity and vice versa so we ended up with a tangled web of lines – a great representation of the “real” world of Web2.0!

We then moved on the a look at some of the Elluminate moderator tools giving people an opportunity to load presentations to the whiteboard and also taking a look at the potential of the multimedia library, and the possible pitfalls. Using videos has improved immensly since I first used Elluminate some years ago. The main issues are around file size and format – as is the case with any use of video in any online context. Whatever you use you need to remember that the participants need sufficient bandwidth and an appropriate player or the video won’t work for them!


This session was fun! Every time we have Serendipity sessions that touch on Web2.0 toolsI meet new tools that I need to explore. Often I just dip in and may not actually take up the tool, but it gives me more potential “tools” in my “teacher toolbox” that I am aware of and that may one day be just the “right” tool for a particular student, group of students or topic. I also enjoy “playing” with Elluminate & love giving people moderator status so that they can investigate the extra tools available to moderators.

Our Next Session

FineFocusSmallOur next Webinar is an Edublogs “Fine Focus” session. This week we have the usual End Of Year/Christmas Party. So bring along virtual goodies to share and please get your thinking caps on and devise an Elluminate Party Game for us to play.  If you have an idea but aren’t sure how to make it work in Elluminate then put a comment on this post or catch me on Twitter (@JoHart). Join us on Thursday Dec 16th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (6pm USA EST, Midnight CET) or Friday Dec 17th at 7am West Aus, 10am NSW, depending on your timezone – in the usual Elluminate room

In the Future

If you are a regular visitor to our webinars you will know that we alternate “Fine Focus” sessions on specific topics with “Serendipity” the unconference sessions where we choose a topic by poll at the start of the session. Sometimes the very fact of being asked for “hot topics” or other ideas for discussion or learning tends to make our minds blank. This has prompted me to start a Serendipity Wallwisher for topic suggestions. Please visit the wall and add your ideas for Serendipity topics so that we have more choices to consider. Some of these ideas might also form the basis for future “Fine Focus” sessions.

Webinar Overview – YouTube in the Classroom


Our recent recorded Edublogs webinar was a fantastic session presented by Bill Genereux (@billgx on Twitter). Bill is an Assistant Professor of Computer Systems Technology at Kansas State University at Salina. He is currently working towards his PhD in curriculum and instruction. In the webinar Bill presented his research about YouTube, carried out recently when taking Dr. Michael Wesch’s Digital Ethnography class

The Session

This was a very interactive session both on audio and in text, with Bill showing a series of video clips to illustrate the outcomes of his research and to stimulate questions and discussion. He set the scene with a short introductory clip about the project.

Next came a look, from the student perspective, at student boredom in school and the activities undertaken to try and alleviate these feelings. This was followed by the scary side of the coin – secret recordings with hidden cameras! To finish Bill moved on to take a look at educators taking video in the classroom as a matter of course and using YouTube to publish these.


This was a terrific session with Bill’s video clips providing a great focus for discussion throughout. As I almost always find myself saying the overview is just that! It provides a “taste”, for the full flavour check out the recording.

Bill’s excellent preparation and pre-loading of the videos into the Elluminate Multimedia library meant that the whole session flowed really smoothly. I have been in sessions as a participant in the past where video has been used without great success and so was a bit apprehensive. This was a first for me in the use of video clips in a ssession where I was in a Moderator role and was (in my opinion) a great success. I feel that this was largely due to two things: a) the fact that Bill and I got together in an Elluminate room in advance and learned together what would work and what would not; b) Bill’s expertise and experience in working with video which enabled him to very quickly determine the best alternative for achieving his objectives for the session.

Just to finish up, my apologies for the delay in posting about this webinar. I was swept up into the fantastic 48 hour Reform Symposium Conference (#rscon10) of which more in a later post.

Next Webinar

SerendipitybsmallOur next Webinar is an Edublogs Serendipity – unconference session so bring along your hot topics and burning issues (what makes you spit with anger or thump a tub with passion) and throw them into the melting pot for the poll to choose our topic in the first ten minutes.

Join us on Thursday Aug 5th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (7pm USA EST, Midnight BST) or Friday Aug 6th at 1am CEST,7am West Aus, 9am NSW, depending on your timezone – in the usual Elluminate room