Last night for Tech 621 we had a webinar about the Dark Side of the Internet. We spoke about topics about social implications, international security, and minors among other topics. Everyone’s topic and talk was fantastic, and some of them were very sobering (especially Quincy’s talk on online sexual predators). I spoke briefly about the concept of the digital divide.
In this presentation I spoke about the social dangers that the digital divide could imply. From Internet access to divides in who gets information can be very important to note. Also when public programs are finding their way to the Internet for people who may not have a lot of access to the Internet, may be causing a problem in how public goods are actually delivered.
So here’s what I thought about the webinar in general.
Public Speaking Behind a Webcam
It was very awkward. I felt like I was talking to myself the whole time. I knew I had an audience, but not seeing this audience was not helpful. I felt like my presentation would have been much better if I had an opportunity to give the same presentation in front of an audience, I think it would have been better. I think overall, I like public speaking in front of a physical audience a lot better. I don’t mind the webcam, but in the format we had last night it was difficult.
The Forum of a Webinar
The idea of the webinar is awesome. You can talk about really interesting stuff with people all over the world (in our case all over Lafayette, IN) without leaving home. This is an exciting prospect. However, I realized in the middle of it, that I missed that basement room in Potter library. It’s something about having people in the same physical room that is helpful about a learning environment. I just felt very lonely, but all my Tech 621 classmates were there. It was an odd dynamic
I didn’t like Adobe Connect. In fact, I know Xin said multiple times that she’d rather use Google Hangout. I completely agree. There were 2 problems: Google Hangout only allows 10 people to chat at once, and we wouldn’t be able to easily share the slides in a consistent manner. I realize that this was my first time using this software, which was also true many of the other students. So I bet if we had used the software more often, it may have run smoother.
I wasn’t a huge fan of this webinar format. The presentations were awesome, but I missed the physical aspect of this seminar. I also think the length of the webinar was a problem. If the webinar was 1-2 hours I think it may have worked better. I know I was starting to get distracted toward the end with other things I wanted to accomplish that evening. I think the material was great, but
I do think this webinar did shed some light on an interested unmentioned topic: is this what online classrooms are like. If so, how is it conducive to learning, and do students actually learn in this format? I think these are serious concerns that we should consider about the future of education. In Indiana, it was proposed at one point that high schoolers be required to complete a class online to graduate. I think this is detrimental to education. What’s stopping the kids from muting the lecture and just Facebooking or doing something else the whole time? It seems like there’s nothing better than “in-person learning” for a classroom setting.
I think the presentations were fantastic. I love the Internet as a topic of study, but I’m not convinced with webinars as a great format for learning. I’m willing to give it another chance, but maybe one that is a little shorter. I’d also be curious to see how non-Internet savvy people like these webinars.