Yack Pack and WalkieTalkie Widget

May 11, 2007

There is no shortage of cool tools out there these days. Check out this one:http://www.yackpack.com/. Connecting via audio and Flash. Kiss text goodbye. Textual IM is old school. Thinking educationally, there was a presentation at Educause Western Regional that I missed, but was told about, where a professor from Stanford, BJ Fogg of the Persuasive Technology Lab, is using the WalkieTalkie widget to have a persistent presence for his students in online office hours. The rich inflection of voice being much more meaningful than sole text. I played with it for a while, but then I wondered why the phone wouldn’t do the trick. Oh, but phones are old school. But not mobile phones. (Flashback) Remember CB’s? How fun it was (and kinda scary) to try to connect with any old trucker coming down the highway? (Present) As a test, I embedded this in the resources tool in Sakai. It works. Hmmm. Now can we embed this a global presence tool in the left hand navigation bar for each site? “Yo, anybody there? It’s Sam and I don’t understand question 2 on tonight’s homework” “Hi Sammy, it’s Billy. I think I got it, what’s the problem?” and so on. Pretty nice spontaneous peer tutoring I’d say. AND its so simple it may just work.

Think of it another way. I go visit the Sakai website. At any given time there may be 5 to 10 members of the project moving through that page. You are new to the community. Click the walkietalkie tool, “Hey, does anybody on this page right now have an implementation of Sakai?” “Yes, we have been running it for 2 years. Got some questions?”… spontaneous community. Smart mobs?

And what about UI design? It is pretty darn simple. But is it a component? I’ll have to share it with my FLUID project colleagues to get their feedback.

Meanwhile, my version of wordpress won’t seem to let me embed it here. I am going to try it at U-Turn, our Educational Technology Services UX Blog.

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