Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Mild frustrations

On the one hand, there is excellent excitement and buzz among teachers and students about the Hebrew online homework help program. On the other hand, the technology side has had some speed bumps.

I set up gmail accounts as base accounts from which to open Skype and ooVoo accounts, but when we got the machines and I went back to them, gmail had disabled the accounts because they looked like they had been bot-generated, I guess (they had similar names: bialikhebrewone, -two, -three), and the same alternate email. Gmail was cooperative in restoring them, but it took a couple of weeks.

Most recently, we've got some problems with the voice/sound delivery, which should be easy to fix - if I could trouble-shoot the source. I had a session today with a student where the student could project video only in ooVoo, but I couldn't hear her; we ended up going to Skype, she could see me and we could hear each other. This was best for me hearing her describe her work, and while frustrating for me, also demonstrated that voice-alone calls can work fine.

Teacher concerns so far: ooVoo has a large advertising banner in each window, which you cannot control or hide without purchasing a membership. They were concerned about the kids' viewing ads of questionable content etc. On the other hand, ooVoo has a slicker interface with side-by-side video windows.
On the up side - since the accounts automatically log calls and chats, I can track use centrally (I have access to all of the accounts - I opened one for each participating teacher, which was overkill) and they don't have to do additional logging.

In the meantime, there's still novelty on all sides and excitement about it, and we're ironing out kinks as we move forward.

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