To say that televisions are ubiquitous would not be an understatement. We spend hours everyday watching TV. Add to this the hours one spends in front of a computer monitor, and our lives are wrapped around the tube. We work, play, eat, and even take a shower or go to the bathroom with one of these things on. The tube is a part of us and we do not even know that its there at times.
Videoconference technology has been growing rapidly along with the growth of Internet bandwidth. Its use in education, business, and medicine is spearheading many other uses including personal uses with the use of simple webcams and technologies like Skype, Wengo, Gizmo, google video chat, and many more. The use of these technologies has become a commonplace. People have got so used to the technology that they forget where they are and who is watching!
The FLC at OSU operates a first-class videoconference center for distance learning (and other purposes). I have come across my share of ‘odd’ conversations during my short management of this room/technology. We have had slip-ups, loud conversations, alien echoes, boisterous music, strange backgrounds, and even wrong people ‘happen’ in this room. But the following takes the cake!
During a videoconference for Dr. Smith’s class with an American University classroom in Iceland (all names changed) members of the other party decided to have a shout fest! It started with a break in communication, but when we were reconnected (2 minutes later) they were having a mini party during which literally every member was yelling at each other (not fighting, yet) and banging on the table and passing/dragging items around the table. Mind you, every sound gets amplified with the microphones set on the table. The oddest thing about this was that the faculty member was not only present but was very much a part of this party (but that’s another blog too). It took a good 10 minutes to get them to calm down while every single one of their activity was broadcast on high def TVs here to an audience of 25.
So everyone, yes by all means, video chat away all you want. But please be aware of who is on the other end. Cause I’m watching you (I’m watching you)! Please be courteous not to yell, scream, shout, drum, bang, kick, scratch, pound, hammer, drag, tug, monkey and other noises/behavior that would in other ways be disturbing to the ears/eyes and the mind. Videoconferencing is a great technology and will only get better and popular, but please know the guidelines and lets keep it quiet and simple for everyone sake!
Technologies: Polycom videoconference , Skype, Wengo, Gizmo, google video chat, MS Word, Mozilla Firefox.
Instructional Aids Associate,
Foreign Language Center
Ohio State University