Adobe Connect – audio update

Further to my earlier blog post regarding my Adobe Connect ‘live teaching’ experience, I wanted to provide an update re my live audio testing sessions. With the help of a test group, we had participants ‘tune in’ from the same building as I was broadcasting, other school sites within our Board network and a couple of off site connections. For all connection types, we were able to improve audio quality.

Before the scheduled session each participant looked after two tasks:

1. check that their flash player was up to date, and complete the update if required and
2. complete this Online Audio Test.

Listeners found the greatest audio clarity when I used the USB Yeti microphone, which I purchased at the Apple store.

We also experimented with web cam settings to determine impact on the audio. With only one camera active, the fast image and slow image settings worked well. The high quality camera setting reduced audio quality (slight choppiness) but not overly disruptive. With multiple cameras active, the slow image setting produced the best overall results.

The test results were validated across the 2 test sessions using different locations and equipment for each session. I feel confident we can proceed with online teaching and our Canada Connections project.

~ Mark

Facebook in K12 – Resources

Links: 2010-09-18  — Facebook in the Classroom

Synthesize the Concepts

Iowa city are now using the social media website inside the classroom

The Science Behind Feeling Good While Social Networking

Ideas for Social Media Guidelines

Social Media Guidelines – More Thoughts

Suggestions: Facebook guidelines for students, parents and schools

ST. CHARLES Community College Facebook Guidelines

Use Facebook to Support School Homework

Note: These resources have also been posted in my ‘Facebook in the Classroom’ user group on Facebook.

~ Mark

Kicking off the 2010-2011 School Year

I enter the 2010-2011 school year with great anticipation and excitement.  Many of the projects that were in major planning stages last year will ‘go live’ this year.

  • Effective today, we have wifi hot spots in each secondary school. These hot spots will allow staff and students to use their own equipment for Internet access.
  • Expanded use of web 2.0 and social media tools to support curriculum delivery. Staff and students now have access to Facebook. Facebook and Twitter, along with other resources will be used to extend school community and support curriculum delivery.
  • By mid month, we will role out email for elementary students. In addition to the secondary role out last April, all students fill have a Board assigned email address to support curriculum and communication needs, and identification in other online environments.  All students will be part of our FirstClass system.
  • Launching our Future Forum project (semester 2), developed as our 2009/2010 PLP project
  • Automated processes now reduce manual work to support account management
  • Redesigned and significantly improved drupal based web sites for our secondary schools
  • Moodle hosted setup to deliver Health and Safety content (launched Sept. 2nd)

Significant projects for this year include:

  • expanded development of our Library Learning Commons (LLC) project
  • a complete rewrite of our Technology Acceptable Use procedure to align with Digital Code of Conduct, Digital Citizenship, and Character Development programs
  • iPads & netbooks in the classroom
  • continued involvement in the PLP program
  • a look at e-book strategies
  • expanding our wireless project
  • building on our Digital Citizenship program

Day one went well. We hit our startup targets and hit the road running. It is going to be a great year!

~ Mark

Adobe Connect Live

This week I tried my first ‘extended time’ online instructional session with a few administrators in our system using Adobe Connect.  The features of Adobe Connect all worked well in the live setting: status flags, chat window for comments and questions, the notes window for our agenda and screen sharing, which I used to project my browser window to remote users.

The feedback on the method of delivery was very positive. The challenge we experienced was the audio being somewhat choppy. This was not evident on my end as the extra ‘remote view’ computer I had set up to have an idea of what the participants were seeing and hearing yielded good results. Today I spent some time completing some research to learn more about how to improve this aspect of session delivery.  The results of my search provided some good insight into some things to experiment with.

I am going to hold a couple of live audio test session to experiment with mics and audio settings to see if I can make some improvements in the audio delivery.  I am experiementing with 4 different mic setups: a direct plug audio mic/headset, a Microsoft USB LifeChat LX3000 headset,  a USB Snowball and the USB Yeti microphone.  One recommendation was for a Shure 58 mic (requires a pre-amp before it can plug into a computer). I have the equipment to test this too, so may throw this option into the mix. I will share what I learn.

I found the following resources to be helpful:

Adobe Connect Resources
Microphone Options
Microphone Help
Connect 7 Audio Tips
Can they hear you now?
U. Dallas Resources
Penn State – Audio Tips
Online Audio Test

If you have tips to share on this topic, please leave a comment.

~ Mark