Communication and Collaboration. As educators, we hear (and speak) these two words frequently and believe that these are two areas are ones which we can always improve upon! Communication has an impact in every area of teaching, learning and leadership, so attention to effective communication is key to being a successful leader. Today all it takes is one Tweet, email, Facebook, Vine, YouTube, or Instagram post and some version of a message is communicated (perhaps not the most important aspect of the message). Depending on the audience, the message through these modes of communication will reach people at different times. Rather than discuss the importance and impact of how, when, where, why and to whom to communicate, this post will focus only on free resources to support effective communication and collaboration. First we will share free and relevant resources which include:
- Face to Face (F2F): Often best, but not always possible when timing and distance are factors. These options make F2F virtually possible and depending on familiarity with the tools can provide more options than F2F (recording for others to view later):
- Skype desktop videoconferencing allows you to see and hear the person with whom you are meeting, share your desktop, chat and send links or view files, and maintain a personal relationship while being miles or continents apart.
- Google Hangouts allows for video conferencing, sharing of documents, and recording of the sessions to view later
- WebEx (free version) allows for sharing for up to 7 people with live video; recording of the session, and sharing of documents, information, and resources
- Virtual F2F: Second Life is for the bold leader. It is possible for educators to meet, teach, learn, and share. High end users may choose to pay to set up places to teach students, and amazing interaction happens! If you have never experienced a virtual world, I challenge you to test it, and determine for yourself if “seeing” another person (avatar) and having a conversation doesn’t evoke internal signals similar to what you experience in real life (IRL).
- Google Voice allows one to do several things. Participants can use voice only, or use voice and chat to have on-going synchronous conversations.
- Skype will allow voice only; great for when you’re out of the office but need to connect but prefer not to be seen, or have less than stellar wi-fi access for high quality video.
Let’s hangout or chat sometime! See you in the virtual world?