February 24, 2007

Flashmeeting - "better than the rest"

Flashmeeting at first glance seems to be the best video conference facility for schools. Ever.

184 schools across Europe are using Flashmeeting to collaborate using only the web, a webcam and... that's it. There's no need for any download to your computer. The video conferences are recordable, saveable, publishable. So are the chats. And the audio. You see, the audio is displayed as a separate Audacity-like track which you can edit and play with afterwards.

How can you find previously recorded and published conferences? You use their tag cloud, of course, created by the folk that use it, not by some pre-determined metadata from a bunch of boffins not using it with kids. You can also see where participants were on the accompanying marked out globes. From May you'll be able to share files in the same way other chat and video conference tools operate. PowerPoints will also be integratable to your video-conference.

As an authorised user you get free access to the system (all eTwinners are authorised). As you invite people to join the meeting all your meetings are safe and secure.

So, with technology that the whole of the world can use for education safely, securely and without any download, what is the role of Glow's video conferencing, which requires permissions to be set, I imagine, to let outsiders to get in and which also, as far as I can remember, needs a wee app to be downloaded to every machine that uses Marratech in Glow? My lack of knowledge in video conferencing means that I really don't know if there is a difference worth noting or not - I'd love to hear from someone else who really knows.

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Flashmmeting is a great webcam conferencing tool!! I am coordinating a pilot of its use for eTwinning schools.
If you are in a collaborative partnership with schools across Europe and would like to trial its use
GET IN TOUCH.

Also any school accross the UK can use the tool for any collaborative activity. It has been developed by the Knowledge of New Media Institute at the Open University Milton Keynes. The Eastern Region Broadband Consortium (E2bn) host the service on behalf of the National Education Network.
ITS FREE
my contact john.warwick@stlukes.herts.sch.uk
http://flashmeeting.e2bn.net

I have been trying to find the perfect online conferencing tool for at least six months now and they all have their pros and cons. Flash meeting is very good in the hands of people who are used to communicating in this way otherwise the one way audio can lead to rather stilted excanges unless one is prepared to use the interrupt button. I am waiting for the full range of features to be available such as the ability to share media and maybe even desktop sharing. I heard a rumour that they will begin charging soon but an educational service may remain free. A major upgrade is due very soon (May I think). It is impressive for the fact that it just runs without a download.

I have attempted to use Marratech a couple of times over the last three years and have never got it to work even after a very heavy download.

At my institution we use Horizon Wimba which is fine but very expensive and management is beginning to ask questions about the cost hence my quest.

Another attractive option is Dimdim http://www.dimdim.com which will be integrated with Moodle amongst other things but their rollout does not seem to be keeping to schedule so I don't know when this will become a realistic alternative.

The market for browser based conferencing seems to be exploding at the moment but it is mainly aimed at business with high prices or combined with teleconferencing aimed at a US market. They often have free versions for small meetings but one of the features you often sacrifice in the free options is the opportunity to record. For me recording is crucial.

There is also convergence with VOIP with for example, Skype offering a very respectable free conferencing service with audio and video but then you are back to a substantial download and installation procedure.

I'm in the same position right now. I'm looking at cost and how well the software works. I am trailing Marratech, Elluminate, and Breeze. There are three basic items I need: video, audio, and applicaiton sharing. I used Marratech one-on-one and it worked great. I will look at Elluminate in the next few weeks. Elluminate integrates with Moodle. We are moving away from using Blackboard to using Moodle. I'm going to check out Flashmeeting - does it do application sharing?

I'm looking at this synchronous software to supplement our e-learning courses. One of our challenges is that we have a variety of Internet bandwidth connections - everything from 10Meg duplex to satellite/dial-up.

Anne & Jeff
Flashmeeting is constantly being developed and upgraded. The next version will have facilities for uploading files, integrating slide presentations eg powerpoint and a 'Flashboard' for shared working.
I Know of no plans to charge schools / educational establishments.
Why not give it a try? I ould welcome you critique. I would be happy to set up a test demo with you. Just let me know convenient date and time. You would need to send me your e mail contact.

You forget that in order to use FlashMeeting you have to have an up to date version of the Flash download installed.....

I have tried Marratech and the quality was excellent - near perfect lip sync! - but the price tag was way too high. Flashmeeting is extremely interesting, especially if the quality is improved from that of the eTwinning showcase by a better camera. Using Flashmeeting to record a conference is something I'll be sure to try out as well.

If you make contact with me john.warwick@stlukes.herts.sch.uk I will invite you into one of our scheduled teacher meetings.

That's really a smart and quick solution for video conferencing, without much efforts and time.
http://www.sony-conferencing.com/

[...]mm interesting. Well it says it “lets you video chat“, but it still doesn’t specify whether you can actually HOST it.
Sony Video Conferencing Sytem
[...]

The comments to this entry are closed.

About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

Recent Posts

    Archives

    More...