Connecting online in synchronous spaces with audio and video capabilities has been around at least since the 1990s. I learned to webcast (it was more painful for Jeff Lebow than for me) during 2007 as part of the Webcast Academy class of 2.1. At that time, using Windows, simplecast, and a shoutcast server maintained by EdTechTalk, and a lot of luck, one could stream live audio. Here is an example from It’s Elementary the webcast by Jose Rodriquez, Alice Mercer, and myself. Such webcasting solutions are now obsolete as free webcasting is as easy as calling friends on Google+, connecting on Oovo, Ustream, Livestream, or Qik.
People love to connect and converse with each other. Today I witnessed k-12 students using Blackboard Collaborate (free to them) to connect and talk about their learnings during their recent Flat Classroom projects. The above photo is from a recent webcast including Illinois and the Virgin Islands. Webcasting services connect more people at a time than VOIP services, although a few of us still remember the hundreds of people in Skypecasts (no longer around). These services connect people synchronously and allow for asynchronous archival of the content in mp3 or mp4 formats.
Dream with me for a minute. Free webcasting could be even better if it were possible to project the live webcast (or the archival copy) anywhere there is wifi using a hologram to include audience members without any hardware. I may be dreaming now, but give it a couple years….
Thornburg, D. D. (2009). Current trends in educational technology. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration.