I've known New York City Writing Project TC Paul Allison for almost as long as I've been part of the writing project. And in all those years, he has never ceased to amaze me as he pokes and prods and stretches - sometimes to the breaking point - the frontiers of digital technologies.
Last week was no exception. Paul, who hosts the weekly webcast, Teachers Teaching Teachers, decided to experiment with Google+, the new social networking tool unveiled by those people up in Mountainview.
Paul created a Google+ "hangout" featuring a videochat, in essence, with up to 9 members of the Cooperative Catalyst blogging community of educators, including Chad Sansing, TC from the Central Virginia Writing Project and co-founder of the Cooperative Catalyst. It was in essence, in form if not content, a TV talkshow with guests from all over the country. Paul worked with his friends at EdTechTalk, the host of TTT, to record the chat, which immediately after the show was published to YouTube and is the video attached to this post.
The video is poignant and democratic and explanatory and heartfelt - and meandering. Like you might expect from any hour-long conversation. The incredible thing to me, though, is not just the content but the fact that this multi-faceted and multimodal resource exists for others to access. And that it was so easily created using free tools.
Anyone with a Google account (which someone recently estimated on the low-end at 200 million people) and Screencast-o-matic to record the videochat conversation can now let loose and create multimedia artifacts with multiple voices from across the country or across town - without so much as one edit.
The possibilities seem endless to me. Another person I'm in conversation with wants to try Google+ hangout as a means to facilitate writing response groups that transcend geographic boundaries.
How might a tool like this benefit your work - in the classroom and at your writing project site?