I started this list of my top ten tech tools from my most popular tool. However, it also appears from how they are coming out, that they are also organized from free to costly! Adobe Connect Professional, a web conferencing tool, is my most costly top ten favorite tech tool, but the good news is the price is coming down. It used to be pretty darn pricey, but now it is really within the reach of most departments and institutions. For about $6000 (yeah, I know that sounds like a lot, but let me tell you what you get), you can get 30 author licenses from Adobe to create and conduct unlimited live web meetings that have easy-to-use embedded, interactive tools, such as a presenter panel (you can upload PowerPoints, images, and other compatible files), a whiteboard, file upload/download, chat, and of course a camera/voice pod. (The word “pod” is Adobe’s word for the various modules you can move around your screen.) Meetings can be recorded for playback at a later date and communication works through VoIP. The system works pretty flawlessly. Here is a thumbnail screen shot (click to view enlarged image) of an Adobe Connect Meeting:
Included with Adobe Connect Professional software is a manager tool where you and your other authors can store and share files and meeting information. Here’s a screen shot of my home page on Macromedia Breeze Manager:
You also get Adobe Presenter (for asynchronous, on-demand viewing), a PowerPoint plug-in that allows you to narrate a PowerPoint, convert it to a flash presentation (smaller file size for web viewing and increased viewing compatibility), and then automatically upload it to your Adobe Connect server, creating the URL (web address) for your viewers to see. Everything is done through a web browser, with no additional software to download for participants.
Adobe Connect Professional used to be called Macromedia Breeze, which is what I have used in the past. If you want to try out Adobe Connect Professional, you can do this from this link: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobatconnectpro/trial/
Could Boise State adopt a web conferencing tool that can be used by all faculty members, to enhance face-to-face, hybrid, and of course, distance learning? A great book to read about how best to use synchronous learning is Learning in Real Time: Synchronous Teaching and Learning Online by Jonathan Finkelstein. We offer a lot of distance classes at Boise State. The time might be right to offer to all faculty a stable, powerful, and effective web conferencing tool.