At about 9.30 pm last night I went onto the K-12 Online Conference website and downloaded the fantastic David Warlick pre-conference keynote address. It said 84 MB and I thought, "Good chance to see how my newly upgraded broadband access can handle this via my wireless router." Not a problem, and before 20 minutes was up, I was listening and viewing David's keynote (which, by the way, was excellent although I didn't get past the part where's he's in the park, watching dog walkers go by). As I've blogged previously, I've got a presentation of my own on the boil for Week Two of the before mentioned conference and I've tried to be creative and inclusive - my spare time in the evenings has been spent putting it together as a webcast and it too will end up being a higher MB product. I have to work a lot harder and seem to spend a lot longer than most getting things right in the creative process so in the spirit of Web 2.0, I reached to a few people on my Learning Network in the K-12 sector to contribute an audio snippet to weave into my presentation. By the way, I left this idea until Friday and then only gave my respondents three days to get back! But I left easy steps for podomatic and then, the contributions trickled in - Al sent me his as an e-mail attachment (2MB) - would have been a problem over dial up. Rachel uploaded hers to her own podomatic account - quite indepth answers and that also was easily accessed and downoloaded via my broadband connection. Greg, who co-opted Jedd, sent his in as an mp4 file (Mac user!) and with broadband had hassles with podomatic. Jedd just deposited his shorter files in my account and so did Mark, after a few goes. Jo sent me hers this morning after an unsuccessful go last night and Doug all the way (from here, anyway) from Alaska had emailed me several times as he battled his dial up and then a few hours back, a internet outage at his school. He sent me an apologetic and slightly frustrated email:
I was ready to record my bit this afternoon. I had the mic. I set up a new podomatic account and ran a test, like I mentioned in a message to you earlier today. Then the net went OFF at about 10 AM. Something happened to the fiber optic cable that connects the whole northern part of Alaska to the rest of the world. A railroad crew doing some maintenance, the story goes. We've been offline all day. Weird.
It got me thinking as I emailed him back that maybe that access for this event (and many others) is a real issue for many educators who through no fault of their own, don't have broadband web access. There are still many areas in Australia where broadband is not available or prohibitively expensive so maybe we need to keep that in mind when we get all carried away with our screencasts, podcasts, webcasts and interactivity. Maybe the simple stuff like a blog or a wiki that is easy to access no matter the web connection speed have to be provided in equal availability. I can see why podcasting is not going to take off anywhere where it takes half an hour to download two minutes of audio. It means I will now put as much effort into my presentation wiki as the webcast - it may well be the only part that Doug and other educators on the digital fringes get to see.
Flickr Image: Elsa Microlink by Tim Dan!el.