28 June 2007

More on Google Talk (Part 3)

Hi Folks,
Google Talk is an excellent tool for online commmunication.
Here I would just like to sing more about it.
For me having Google Talk on my Mac live online alongside my Skype, WebCT Chat, Yahoo Messenger, email, mobile-phone-with-texting/photo-sharing/internet-access, and landline telephone is a very welcome addition to my synchronous communications. I have not yet changed my mind about the ineffectiveness of synchronous media alone for learning : I still feel we really need the asynchronous aspect in which the learning does take place, as Plato said - "Learning occurs in the mind, independent of time and place". Google Talk does archive the chats and voicemails and seamlessly connects to gmail (naturally) as well as file-sharing, for asynchronous learning. Here is a screen grab of Google Talk / Chat / Voicemail on my Mac.

While Google Talk does not yet have a three or more participants conferencing mode, the quality is outstanding for one-to-one voice chat. And if anyone has the wherewithal to get Google Talk, then they probably can get Skype conferencing and Yahoo conferencing - both free as well. So where does that leave the white-elephant WebCT ? It takes 200 seconds to open up its Chat Room using the fastest posssible cable connection in Japan with the newest Intel high-speed Mac. In other countries one with narrow bandwidth can only wonder and wait. And a further 30 seconds inside the WebCT Chat Room to activate the typing text-messaging function - incredibly slow. I do not however endorse a total Google environment. I think that this may lead to become overly dependent on a commercial venture business - in which even now the advertisements are overcrowding what was until last year superb search technology. That said, I also do not endorse the dependence of being locked into WebCT - since some students may use Mac or Linux systems and increasingly the digitally-unreached in developing regions globally are now entering the forum - with the high-end WebCT increasingly too overpowering for the low-end student users. I am surprised that even locally in the States, there are connectivity hassles. India (which is probably considered a developed nation by now) of course has its difficulties but they compensate by their great sense of humour, and willingness and strategies to cope with the power cuts.
Up next will be a review of Google Calendar ...
All Best Wishes

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