Monday, February 25, 2008

Another look into the 'Fischbowl' of 21st Century Learning

Fishbowl blogging and video conferencing

Once again this past week I had the privilege of being invited into the classroom of Anne Smith at Arapahoe High School . Along with Anne's colleague, Karl Fisch and other external/international guests Will Richardson, Stephanie Sandifer and Kristen Hokanson, we blogged about the Dan Pink, A Whole new mind, chapter on Meaning. My earlier post in January, "The world is a fishbowl....come on in", gives more details about the process involved in this technique of inner and outer circle discussion and blogging combined.

As you can see by the blog post for this session on Meaning, more than 300 comments were added by the 'outer circle' of attendees.

Karl sent me a list of possible questions to use for reflection on this session. So here goes....
  • How did the live blogging work for you technically? Any issues?
No issues except the practice of refreshing the screen each time to see the new comments was a little cumbersome, however it did not really hamper the actual task of reading, listening and commenting.
  • If you tuned in to the MeBeam broadcast, how did that work for you technically? Any issues? If you decided not to tune in to MeBeam, was there a particular reason?
MeBeam worked well...but not as well as the last session. A couple of times I was bumped off, also it tended to lose the audio connection many times, but when it came through again it seems I had not lost any of the talking.
  • How did this work for you in terms of being able to live blog remotely? Did you feel like you could follow/contribute to the conversation? If you tuned in to the MeBeam broadcast, do you think that helped your participation or was it more of a distraction?
I think the setup was very good for live blogging but I wonder if a better system where the comments do not have to be refreshed would enhance the experience even more. on the other hand I think what we did was removed enough from 'chatting' that it gave us all time to think of genuine comments and react to other comments and the inner circle without the pressure of being in a real-time chat environment. the MeBeam broadcast enhanced the overall experience, despite the technical glitches.
  • Do you have any suggestions – technically, structurally, or pedagogically – that you'd like to pass along?
A larger window into your classroom would be good, however the audio was very clear of all speakers! Pedagogically I believe another method of 'fishbowling' is to have a rotating inner circle where there is always one chair free. How interesting if that chair was occupied by anyone online or in person. Even if for simplicity we were all put on a rota and knew when our time was coming (as opposed to the method of jumping into the spare chair when you had something to say), at least then the inner and outer circle would merge more. Just a thought.

Thanks again Karl and Anne for pushing the envelope. I look forward to reading your academic papers and reflections based on your series of live blogging sessions.

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