The WOW factor still matters

I’m not sure if this says more about my social life or my connected life but whatever. You can judge for yourself.

So it’s Friday night, my wife is out watching my girls perform in Annie. (I’m really a good parent, I watched them on Saturday I just don’t need to see it three times). So I find myself watching Jeff Utecht in Bangkok on his computer, streaming his former colleagues in Shanghai gathering together on a Saturday watching presentations from K12 online.  You may have to read that sentence twice to get it.

Jeff held a similar event a couple of years ago.  2 years ago, streaming video was not readily available but Jeff did record some of that event for viewing after the fact.  Today, streaming video is as easy as email. But Jeff had to do some fancy configurations to stream his Skype call from Shanghai back to Bangkok out to the world. I was concerned that the internet might break at any moment. Jeff has a reputation.

As much as I live this stuff everyday, there is still a WOW factor here. The WOW of an almost seamless discussion with people who care deeply about the things I do. I think WOW is good. I think WOW should be leveraged not as an end but a means to really important stuff.  I agree that WOW isn’t enough anymore but to think that I could have a rich conversation with folks who offer a completely different perspective from the other side of the world would seem significant.  I think having rich conversations locally is important and that’s exactly what the teachers in Shanghai were doing.  There’s no reason why we would have to choose.

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  • Wow is a great word for it, Dean. It perfectly describes the feelings of so many teachers when they see that they can leverage technologies that are having such important impacts on the rest of the “real world.” So many of the tools like live, streaming video, were once only possible with expensive, therefor elusive technologies, and it is truly amazing what we can now do as teachers and students on a shoestring budget and with easily acquired skills! The shrinking of our planet and the expansion of our networks of learners, teachers, co-creators, and collaborators is WOWable (should be a word), indeed! I’m a very new user of technologies like this, and nowhere near Jeff’s level, but I’ve been truly impacted by the power they hold and the possibilities they open. Keep saying “wow”–I’m still using “21st century skills.” 😀

    Randy Rodgerss last blog post..Twitter? Are You Serious?

  • Dean, you are right, the ‘Wow’ factor still matters and as individuals on the road to better use of technology in our everyday lives as well as ‘classrooms’ we need to reflect on this and remember that what may be common-place to us, may in fact be a huge ‘wow’ to someone else. Just to let you know I wrote about ‘Beyond the Wow’ in a recent blog post
    Also, here in Qatar we have started a 21st century learners group with a similar approach to the Shanghai set, but less ‘wow’ to start with …will need to build up the confidence with the group to UStream etc.

  • Two things amazed me about that event. First Jeff twittered beforehand did anyone want to watch a tropical storm thunder through Bangkok while he tried to sort out the audio- I took him up on it and we enjoyed watching the lightening and listening to a Bangkok rooster crowing here from Nelson, New Zealand. And then later when I left a comment someone in Shanghai knew who I was and what I was doing this year. WOW all right!!

    AllanahKs last blog post..Under the spotlights at ULearn08

  • Thanks for sharing this, Dean. We are having an event at our school on Nov. 7th centered around K12Online. I’m using Jeff’s idea from a few years ago, but ours will not nearly be as cool as his. Nevertheless, I certainly home the teachers involved learn something new. I may work with our tech department to try and expand the discussion via Skype or uStream.

  • Hey,

    We have been playing with live internet video at for about a year. We are in Regina, Saskatchewan and have had people from all over the world come and have discussion about everything imaginable. Having an open space for discussion was/is really interesting and exciting. I’m curious about the various layers of communication that’s going on with those screen capture layers, chatrooms, and skype calls.

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