Thursday, January 15, 2009

Design Discussion with Daniel Pink: Setup, Pictures, Screenshots and Ustreams

In case anyone is interested, I thought I would embed the two Ustream recordings from today, as well as share a few pictures and screenshots. Since someone asked in the Ustream chat, I'll share the setup as well.
  • Since Daniel Pink graciously shared two hours with us, we combined four classes down into two. Because that meant we had about 55-60 students each time, we needed a larger area than their usual classroom, so we setup in our library. In the "front" we had a computer running Windows XP and we used Skype to connect with Mr. Pink. That computer was then projected so that all the students could see him, as well as the live blog (although they pretty much read the live blog on their laptop screens). We used a logitech webcam for the video for Skype, and a Blue Snowball microphone (with a USB extension cable to get it into the group of students asking questions) for the audio. We then had logitech speakers to broadcast Mr. Pink's audio out to the room. (We did not have any feedback issues, although we did have him wear headphones on his end to help with that.)

  • We also ustreamed the event. For the ustream, we used a DV camcorder connected to an iMac (for better video quality than a typical webcam, although I don't know how much difference it really makes) and a second Blue Snowball microphone (again with USB extension cable) for the ustream audio.

  • We used a laptop to approve the CoverItLive comments, although that could've been done on either of the other computers if we wanted to (we brought in some extra help just in case, so we put them to work!).

  • The students who were live blogging were mostly using our Dell laptop computers running Windows XP, connecting wirelessly to our network, although some students brought in their own laptops.

Amazingly enough, we pretty much had zero technical issues.

Here are some additional photos, screenshots and the two ustream embeds. If anyone has any feedback - technological or pedagogical - please leave a comment. And, of course, if you have any questions, leave those as well.

Anne Smith's Period 2 and 5 Ustream (and CoverItLive live blog archive):

Streaming Video by Ustream.TV

Maura Moritz's Period 3 and 4 Ustream (and CoverItLive live blog archive):

Streaming live video by Ustream


  1. Although I missed a lot of it, I did
    catch a bit of the ustream and live blogging. Great thoughts and discussion by the students. I've now moved Daniel Pink's book higher up on the must read list. Thanks.

  2. Carl,

    Thanks to your sharing your school-wide use of Skype to connect with Daniel Pink, combined with Silvia Tolisano's Around the World in 80 Blogs, I had two powerful arguments as to why my school district should unblock Skype. And as of Friday, I've won the argument.

    Although our technology department has paid big bucks for Adobe Connect, which is fine for teaching online courses, I think by opening a free, simple tool to all teachers, many more will start exploring connections and conversations outside of their school sites - especially when they have elementary & high school examples of the possibiblities.

    At Novemeber's NCTE conference, I had an interesting conversation with Dr. Michael Webb, who shared his observation that school districts tend to value programs they have to pay for. The more I think about it, the more I agree. So thanks again making visible what Web 2.0 looks like in an English classrom.

    Gail Desler

  3. @Gail - That's great! Glad our example helped you move forward.

    Yes, I think there are lots of examples out there of free or low cost things that are ignored, but more expensive things "must have value" since someone is paying for them. In fact, I just read an article somewhere lately saying just that thing - that when they doubled what they charged for something they got a lot more customers. Interesting and, of course, in schools somewhat problematic.