If you follow me on twitter than you probably don’t need to read this post…but for those that are still not connected into the twitter network here’s a little fun we had last night.
When Sheryl was here visiting we were talking about a new free tool for virtual classrooms like Elluminate but only free. She put a link in her presentation wiki to WiZiQ. Last night I decided to take the program for a test run. First I needed to find some people to help me test out the program…so I went to my network. My on-demand network of educational technology people who if they had time could join me for a test run on this new tool. Using Twitter I posted the link to the session and invited anyone in my Twitter network to join me and together maybe we could figure out how this tool worked. Within 20 minutes there were 5 people in WiZiQ with me and as North America woke up we added more. David Warlick stopped by and Will Richardson joined us but only to chat and experience…something about morning breath at 6am his time.
So the use of the Twitter network and whether people would answer the call was one experiment in and of itself….and a very cool one which had great success.
The second part was the program itself. I was very impressed with WiZiQ here is a quick run down of the program.
1. It’s free
2. It has unlimited seats
3. You can chose to have just audio or a video session. We played with the audio session and I was very impressed with the sound quality, no lag, and no breaking up of conversations. Need to test the video side.
4. The teacher has control over the ‘students’ I was able to turn their mics on and off. When you allow someone to have the mic they also gain access to the content and whiteboard area.
5. You can upload ppt and swf files. You can upload them ahead of time through your WiZiQ account and then simply put them into your virtual class when needed.
6. The whiteboard tools were easy to use and self expanitory
7. You could upload an image. A couple people had issues with this but we think it was to do with more than one person trying to upload a picture at the same time.
8. It records the sessions and those that have watched it have commented that the recordings are of pretty good quality.
9. Once someone has joined your session they are added to your contact list. The next time I set up a class I can simply invite people from my contact list and they will be e-mailed the time and date of the class with a link to get in.
It is still in Beta so there are some things that are buggy and that I personally would like to see added
1. There is a tab on my account for “archived sessions” but my session has still not shown up there.
2. You cannot make someone else a teacher…although by giving them the mic you do give them control over all the content.
3. You cannot share your desktop (This is a big one for me!)
4. I wish you could chose to make a session public so people did not have to create an account. You can e-mail WiZiQ and they will set up a public session for you, but it would be nice if there was an option to allow you to do this when creating the class on your own. People do not need another account.
5. I wish the archive was saved into a common format that you could download and edit and create your own archives.
So that’s it…give it a go and see what you think. Elluminate does have a free 3 seat version of their program so you can test the two and see which one meets your needs.