Last week I attended the Learning Technologies Conference. Having been active with the backchannel team over the last few years, this year I was tasked with assisting with the Google Hangouts dubbed “Room of Reflection.” My role was to get in the way of the wonderful team from Dreamtek, and ask them lots of infuriating questions! 😊
Seriously though. We had to work closely with the team to ensure our devices were able to log on and see the questions. It sounds simple enough, but we discovered that some devices displayed varying levels of functionality. I took the helm for day 1 , with Barbara Thompson from BP, manning the decks on day 2. Our role was to enter the hangouts as participants as opposed to joining as spectators, and field any questions from the chat, then relay those at a convenient time…to the panel specifically the guests.
I did a brief post on conference day outlining who the various interviewees would be. You can view it here.
From my perspective there are 2 main strands to consider from a learning technologies perspective. The first (and in no particular order) are the technical aspects of running a Google hangout. I did a short impromptu interview with the head technician on the day:
Google Hangouts puts the power to broadcast potentially to a global audience at the fingertips of us all. Of course, like all social tools, your personal and professional currency as well as the reach of your networks can play a large role on the sizes of the audience you are broadcasting to. However, depending on the device you might use to access or run sessions you will have a differing User Experience. However, like Skype or other video conferencing tools, it can be used for one to one conversations or with small or large groups in private session.
The second aspect to consider is the content of the hangouts. The learning piece. After all, we learn at these types of events through the great conversations we have, from the expertise and experience of contributors, vendors and other attendees. So this was an attempt to extend the reach of the conversation around specific learning themes that were emerging through the conference to those unable to attend.
To watch some of the sessions, click on the links below.
Session 1: Martin Couzins, The Future of Work
Session 2: Nigel Paine, The Challenge of Workplace Learning
Session 3: Fons Trompenaars, Working Internationally
Session 4: Gemma Critchley, Lisa Mccandleuss, Video
This foray into running Google Hangouts was experimental and somewhat under the radar, but I think we’ll be seeing this at future conferences. I will be writing more posts about using Google Hangouts and Google Plus, so please do look out for them.