Elluminate is a really cool interactive long distance classroom format. This is the second online class I have had the opportunity to participate in discussions using Elluminate. I find the layout and ease of navigation throughout the window is fairly straight forward. One of the most useful tools is the live view option that allows the moderator to show step by step actions and as well as manipulate the screen and provide an interactive presentation. This form of long distance classroom interaction allows all parties to be involved in the discussion through various forums within the site itself. At no point did I feel disconnected or removed from the discussions due to the use of this technology. Unfortunately during the first synchronous session I was unable to fully interact (video and audio) with the learning community due to technical problems but I am very excited for this Tuesdays session as the bugs have been worked out.
The assessments for the course lend themselves to the personal interaction and comfort level of individual students. There are of course varying levels of comfort with new technologies particularly when the technology is going to be used in the classroom where, fingers crossed, it does not fail. The challenge with all technologies is to finding what really works for the individual educator. A lot of teachers have lesson plan books and curricular units they have been polishing and revamping to make sure they stay current. Unless teachers see a benefit in taking on the enormous task of digitizing all the paper pencil work they have put in the resistence of new technologies can be tough to over come. I am interested in exploring further how we can bridge the gap between paper pencil lesson plans and how to best transfer information to digital media. Ease of use of a program that allows teachers to transfer their information is crucial. There has to be a benefit of ease or teachers will be reluctant to take the journey.