The Vyew – Part Deux

4 05 2007

Another social studies class period spent today with Vyew, the desktop sharing application I discussed yesterday.  Today was a bit more successful, in some far-fetched way, than yesterday.  Today, students were able to work collaboratively in the workspace, which is our overall goal.

I started by selectively giving them each “contributor” privileges and giving them an instruction, such as “draw a large box.”  Mind you, all instructions were given via the chat box on the side of the screen, which adds a whole new element to the conversation (as my students are neither great readers nor great typers).  However, they were already better at this today than yesterday.  Once each student got his chance at writing in the workspace, I moved on to having them each take turns with the “textpad” tool.  This worked fairly well, too; students were patient while others wrote their two cents in the text box.

During the entire lesson, we ran into some troubles with losing connections – at some point, each of the 5 students were kicked out of the room, and it took just a little bit away from instructional time to teach them to get back in. 
In my small class, such interruptions occur proportionally less frequent than a regularly-sized class, so I am able to put the little fires out pretty seamlessly.  However, I could imagine that in a class of 20 or more that students losing connections and coming and going to and from the room would be a great deterrent to any possible learning.  I would love to hear if any other teachers have had experience with Vyew or any other similar application.

 Really, we are using Vyew, more of a desktop-sharing application, to have an online collaboration workspace.  I would like to try something like Google Docs, but students do not have access to the workspace unless they have e-mail addresses…unless there is a way around it.  Truthfully, I have not invested a great deal of time into that Google application.  But, if someone else has a useable online word processing/collaborating tool, please share.

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