Remote Learning

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    • #91641
      Avatareager to learn

      Hi there,

      I’m trying to find objective, independent evaluations and charts comparing the various services and/or software to teach remotely. I’m mostly interested in free or less expensive options although Vidyo was recommend but no free or cheap.

      I’ve used Skype for one-on-one conversations but not a class situation.

      TeamViewer and Google Talk were mentioned.

      I don’t have a school budget for this entrepreneurial project.

      Thank you!

    • #214857

      Afraid I can’t answer you directly. However, back in the late 1980s and early 1990s there was a great deal of emphasis on distant learning in Australia. Owing to the vast distances between communities in parts of that country this was seen as a viable solution to putting teachers and students together. You might direct your inquiries to educational organizations in Australia for help.

    • #214858

      As a past qualified teacher, examiner and qualification writer, distance learning as an aim is fine – but delivery systems are so problematic, I suspect not the area where a newcomer starting from scratch has a lot of hope. In the education world there are lots of conventions at the very least and often plenty of rules – plus you have the tricky subject of learning styles to cope with.

      Let me try to explain.

      To save money, one of the exam boards tried to use distance communication tools for their examiner training. The first thing that really caused issues was the huge range of IT/computer ability of the people. Some very, very intelligent people incapable of setting the software up, incapable of operating it, and incapable of coping with this style of learning. We would have a screen with the ability for us to read text documents – by integrating with word, that you had running, Excel for spreadsheets, media player for videos and audio files. The system had a small box where you could type in text, which would be displayed, with your name, on everyones screen. There was a button to ‘put you hand up’ so the trainer could stop and ask you to talk, you then pressed a key and everyone could hear your voice. You could click on yes or no boxes, and even clap! Wonderful, but it failed on every level. Some people could not talk, some could not hear, many couldn’t seem to get multiple windows open, and on one session, the trainer managed to start elton john singing on an audio file, but couldn’t stop it again. The trainer herself couldn’t cope with the constant interruptions, claps, hand ups, and text messages. After just one session, it had to be abandoned and they actually lost a number of examiners who just could not cope with it. In the end, they had to have an IT support person present for each on line session – a total shambles. As a learning experience very poor.

      If you want to do this kind of thing, then it will cost. As a trainer you will feel impotent and out of control – you have no idea whatsoever of who is doing well and who isn’t – and I would suggest this is a subject that needs very particular skills from the presenter. It is nothing like teaching a group in person. I ran one session and while I am happy with technology, the pace was snail like – always having to ask Fred (19) to slow down, and to wait for Mary (50) to click on her OK button so we could move on. As the trainer you have no way of knowing if they understand you. If they click the tick button, did they really finish the task, or just read the text box where the 19 year old gave the game away, and give up on their own work and just replicate what he said. As an educator, I hated it with a passion. Despite costing a lot of money – the board continued as they were spending less than having real meetings. For communication to work, it must be two way and accurate. You have no idea about accuracy at a distance.

      Jus look at the one-way youtube videos. The majority are pathetic, and flawed. Some are well planned, but poorly carried out, a tiny number get it right – and even when they do, it is often the wrong style for somebody else – who sees the same material and learns nothing!

      Best of luck

    • #214860

      This is taking us far-afield, but Paulears’ comments reminded me of some of the early attempts at the University of Washington in the period between 1985 and ’93, under the auspices of IBM. One project involved piping classroom instruction in Seattle to a similar classroom in another part of the state. Communication was two-way, essentially video conferencing. My recollection is that it was fairly efficient as a means of dispensing information, but of dubious value as a means of educating people. The give and take found in the successful learning environment was never achieved in the video classroom.

      Most recently I was involved with a continuing education project that consisted of twenty hours of video instruction on Vimeo, at the conclusion of which the distant student could complete an elaborate examination and receive credit for the course. This, of course, lacked interactive participation and, again in my judgement, was of only marginal value to the students, all of whom were certified medical practitioners. It was interesting to hear the instructor’s point of view and watch his clinical practice, but absent a question and answer or discussion session it appears to have been only moderately successful and was eventually withdrawn.

      Perhaps you will be able to contribute to ways of perfecting the distant learning experience. Good luck

    • #72059236
      Shirley TorresShirley Torres

      Have you tried to use Zoom? You can easily create conferension there for your students. We use this program at work. You can speak for free 45 minutes or something, after you just renew it and use again.

    • #72059288

      Shirley: This thread was started and responded to in 2016 — long before Zoom. You’re absolutely right (now, in 2020) that Zoom may well be a useful tool. How well students learn in the Zoom classroom, however, is yet to be seen.

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