• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Stop wasting time looking for files and revisions. Connect your Gmail, DriveDropbox, and Slack accounts and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio will automatically organize all your file attachments. Learn more and claim your free account.


Educational uses of conferencing software

Page history last edited by nmgaspar 10 years, 2 months ago



 Educational Uses


of  Conferencing Software




(Image source: www.blaugh.com)















 What is Conferencing







(Images source: www.sussex.ac.uk)





     According to Encyclopedia.com, conferencing software is a "generic term used to describe any software which links a number of users together in a conference and which enables them to post submissions to a conference and read other users' contributions. The term is often used to include software which is used in connection with Newsgroups" (Ince, 2001).  


     Web conferencing is also a term used to describe how conferencing is conducted over the internet with the use of conferencing software (Wikipedia.org).  In web conferencing, an individual communicates with another individual(s) via an internet connection by a download software application or an internet-based application, such as e-mail, that users can access by clicking on  a link to join (Wikipedia.org).





Examples of Conferencing Software


     Some good examples of conferencing software are Skype and Wimba.  Skype is a free video and tele-conferencing software application that allows a user to make calls over the internet (Wikipedia.org).  Making Skype calls and video-conferencing among users who also have the software installed on their computers are free of charge (Wikipedia.org)  The application also allows users to instant message and transfer files as well and can be used on a wide array of operating system platforms such as  Linux, Mac OS X, iPhone, Windows Mobile, XP, Vista, and Windows 7 (Wikipedia.org)


Other free alternatives to Skype that can be used as web conferencing software include Google Talk, iChat, VoIP Buster and among others (see "10 Alternatives to Skype" section further below).




Advantages of Web Conferencing


(Image source: www.AwfulCommercials.com) 





Advantages of Web Conferencing:


  • Travel expenses: Saving money is easier with the accessibility of Web Conferencing, for example: you can save on money by purchasing less fuel.  You can avoid lodging fees and accommodations.  Travel expenses and other travel fees are no longer necessary. Conferencing on the web eliminates the need for traveling to multiple locations numerous times and greatly saves on time and money (not to mention your mental and physical health) while accomplishing nearly all the necessary tasks that happens in a physical, face-to-face conference. 



  • Saving time equals saving money:   Besides saving on travel and other expenses, the web conferencing also save you lots of time. Time that is necessary to plan and coordinate meetings. In addition, instead of taking the tedious effort and time to organize a meeting, this time can now be best applied to quickly executing a lesson plan for your students on a particular day, or building up that needed revenue and income for one's business.


  • Work smarter and reduce costs:  Another great advantage of web conferencing is the instantaneous sharing of documents. These documents can be viewed by several individuals simultaneously without having to worry where they are located. Projects and documents can be viewed and edited in real-time and employees can edit projects together.  In terms of personal lifestyle, because there is less time spent on traveling this translates into more time spent at home with family.  Employees are more likely to be more constructive and productive during their work time. 


(Source: http://www.admin-ezine.com/)


Other benefits:


  • You can share and edit files instantly, aand update documents.  All the work that is done over web conferencing is done in real-time so critical information is never missed.
  • The ability to connect with anyone around the world, instantly (anytime and any place) increases communication in the organization. 
  • The  software used does not need to be sophisticated, and at times is free of charge.  Software such as Instant Messaging or VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), such as Skype, can be used to carry out the necessary tasks and will ease the burden on finances as well.

(Source: www.conferencecallplace.com)



Disadvantages of Web Conferencing


(Image source: www.cartoonstock.com)







  • A potential problem may arise with web conferencing, especially with a large number of individuals conferencing at the same time, is that the participants need to be "disciplined and able to concentrate intently on the discussion" (Russell, 2008).  To make sure that web conferences go smoothly and that all get the benefit from participating in it, the use of web cameras, microphones and speakers (or headset microphones) must be used.  Using these tools will ensure that everyone is paying attention and getting the most out of every group gathering and that nothing will go to waste (Russell, 2008).


  • Another disadvantage to web conferencing is if  one chooses to go through a paid version of a service provider. (Lee)  


  • The risk factor involved for a newly implemented technology will eventually suffer from security risks from hackers who can find vulnerabilities in the software such as circumventing the security policies that an IT company has secured. (Source: www.webconferencingexpert.com)


  • Web conferencing also has risks in the sharing of services such as file sharing.  Sharing involves the transmission of data and in the process bugs may create vulunerabilities in the system. (Source: www.webconferencingexpert.com) 


  • The issue of hackers invading the system is also another high risk factor.  They are interested in finding the vulnerabilities of a system and crack its security feature.  When using online web conferencing, one opens up oneself to the disadvantages that a system are lied within. (Source: www.webconferencingexpert.com)


  • Companies and organizations are beginning to use their own servers in order to have more control over their security.  One drawback is that if you are you using your own server is that one will have to use their own bandwidth for web conferencing which in the long defeats the reason for using web conferencing as an inexpensive means to save time and money. (Source: www.webconferencingexpert.com)




Web Conferencing Requirements



(Image source: www.mgitsolutions.com)





"Skype" Technical Requirements:


  • PC running Windows® 2000, XP, Vista or 7. (Windows 2000 users require DirectX 9.0 for video calls).
  • Internet connection – broadband is best (GPRS is not supported for voice calls).
  • Speakers and microphone – built-in or separate.
  • For voice and video calls we recommend a computer with at least a 1GHz processor, 256 MB RAM and of course a webcam.
  • For High Definition (HD) video calls both you and the person you're talking to need Skype 4.2 for Windows or higher, plus HD webcams.

          You'll also need a high-speed broadband connection (we recommend sustained 1 Mbps symmetrical bandwidth or higher) and a PC with at least a 1.8 GHz processor.

(Source: www.skype.com)



Google Talk:


  • Requires Windows XP or later (PC Only)

          (Video and voice plug-in for Gmail, iGoogle, and Orkut works with BOTH Mac and PC.)

(Source: www.google.com/talk/)





  • Mac computer with an Intel processor
  • 1GB of memory
  • 5GB of available disk space
  • DVD drive for installation
  • Some features require a compatible Internet service provider; fees may apply.
  • Some features require Apple’s MobileMe service; fees and terms apply.

(Source: www.apple.com)




10 Alternatives to Skype...



(....annnnd this ain't one of 'em.)

("Alexander Graham Bell at the opening of the long-distance line 

from New York to Chicago," 1892.)


(Image source: www.americaslibrary.gov)



  1. SightSpeed – Mac and Windows app offering unlimited free PC – PC VoIP calls, unlimited free PC – PC video calls. Reduced rates for PC – landline / cell phone calls. Also features video blogging capabilities.
  2. Google Talk – A soft VoIP application for Windows that offers VoIP and instant messaging. Mac users can talk with Google Talk users using Jabber-enabled clients such as Adium and iChat. Linux users can use Gaim.
  3. Gizmo Project – SIP based P2P client in the same ilk as Skype with integrated call recording. At the time of writing, Skype currently requires extra software to record calls.
  4. iChat – Mac OS X application that offers PC – PC calls between iChat and AIM users.
  5. VoIP Buster – Windows app offering free PC – PC calls and 120 days of free calls to landlines.
  6. Jajah – Web-based VoIP interface where you enter your phone number and the number of who you want to dial. Jajah calls the caller and the person you are calling. You both answer, the calls begins and you can talk. Does not require any new software or hardware.
  7. Amicima – Publishers of a soft VoIP application called amiciPhone that offers a combination of user presence, file transfers, photo sharing and instant messaging.
  8. ComBOTS – German app that offers free VoIP calls, photo sharing and drag-and-drop file sharing for files up to 200MB.
  9. OpenWengo – Open Source app based on the SIP protocol for free VoIP calls between 2 PCs with SIP-compliant software. You can hook into any other VoIP provider that uses SIP. Also offers SMS, video chat and instant messaging.
  10. Vbuzzer – Soft VoIP Windows app offer free calls between Vbuzzer users and reduced call rates to landlines. Also offers instant messaging.

(Source: www.voip-sol.com)






See Conferencing


Software in





(Images source:  www.horton-szar.net)




Students at Agnes Risley elementary school in Sparks, Nevada pose for a photo as they had their

experience using Skype to welcome a student with Leukemia into their class room.

(Source: LearningisMessy.com)



(Click on photo below to watch a video of Skype in action in the classroom!)

(Image source: www.learningismessy.com)



This is a 5 minute video that tells the story of the fourth grade class of

Agnes Risley elementary school that used the free conferencing software

application,Skype, to welcome a student with Leukemia into their classroom.


YouTube plugin error



"Students in Erica Meng’s fifth-grade class at Benton Heights Elementary School

listen intently as NASA engineer Donner Gigsby and Gamaliel Cherry with NASA

Langley Educational Center, answer students’ questions during a live web-conference

September 14, 2007. Also pictured is, seated, UCPS Curriculum Coordinator Tom Moncrief,

who orchestrated the web-conference, Benton Heights principal Mike Harvey and Meng."

(Source:  http://www.ucps.k12.nc.us/communications/jump_pages/JumpBentonHeights_NASA.php )


(Image source: www.ucps.k12.nc.us


Useful links:


  1. List of various wev conferencing sofware and providers: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_conferencing)
  2. "Desktop Videoconferencing: Novelty or Legitimate Teaching Tool?  (http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr120.shtml )
  3. Wimba for K-12 schools: (http://www.wimba.com/solutions/k-12/)
  4. You Tube -  "Elluminate, Accipio-Virtual Classroom Delivers Real Learning"
  5. A great link with more information on Skype by another student's wiki:  Educational uses of Skype




(Source: www.mgitsolutions.com)  




If a Picture is worth a thousand words, what is a video worth?. (2007, February 05). Retrieved from http://learningismessy.com/blog/?p=196 


Ince, Darrel. (2001). Conferencing software. Retrieved from http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O12-conferencingsoftware.html


Lee, Rick. (2009). Web based video conferencing pros and cons. Retrieved from http://www.articlesnatch.com/Article/Web-Based-Video-Conferencing--Pros-And-Cons/593736 


Parker, Diane. (2010). Web conferencing tool - reduce your communication costs . Retrieved from http://www.admin-ezine.com/web_conferencing_benefits.htm


Russell, D. (n.d.). The Pros and Cons of Web Conferencing. Free Articles Directory | Submit Articles - ArticlesBase.com. Retrieved May 7, 2010, from http://www.articlesbase.com/leadership-articles/the-pros-and-cons-of-web-conferencing-337889.html


Skype. (2010, May 06). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skype

Tee, Lucas. (2010). Pros and cons of using a web conferencing solution. Retrieved from http://conferencecallplace.com/conferencecall/pros-and-cons-of-using-a-web-conferencing-solution/ 

Web conferencing. (2010, April 27). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_conferencing




Comments (6)

Leticia De La Torre said

at 10:07 pm on May 2, 2010

I really enjoyed your site, and your examples: Wimba and sky are great examples. I clicked on the picture and was linked to the video, but I was not able to watch it. I'm not sure if maybe it was down at the time or if my computer has not downloading it. Maybe you can try it again to see if you are able to open the video. I will try to open it tomorrow and I will let you know.
The only suggestions I have is if it was my blog I would add a little information on computer equipment requirements to access these types of programs. This is just a suggestion, overall great job.

Alan bautista said

at 7:38 am on May 5, 2010

Good morning,

I agree with Leticia, this was enjoyable to read because of the information. You also provided great examples to support the information.

nmgaspar said

at 3:06 am on May 6, 2010

Hello Alan and Letty,

I've finished with a majority of my work for my part. There is still some editing to be done and I need to add some more "disadvantages" of web conferencing. I will want to add another video but I can't seem to find it and lost the address but I will find with more time. However, any one of you may start to edit and check links, grammar, and add more content if necessary. Hey, if I do all the work there won't be any more "fun" left for you guys. Now that wouldn't be fair now would it!? :)

Leticia De La Torre said

at 12:19 am on May 12, 2010

Awsome work Norberto,
I made a "Few" changes hope you dont mind. I made some corrections to some wording, changed a little bit of spelling, and changed Headings. Your links are great, they all worked. Overall, I learned a lot from your site. I will go on again tomorrow and see what editor 2 adds.

Leticia De La Torre said

at 9:39 am on May 12, 2010

Hello Norbeto I saw that you made additional changes. I made some minor changes to the spacing and alignment. But otherwise the blog looks good.

Alan bautista said

at 1:37 pm on May 13, 2010

Norberto, the blog looks good. Like Leticia, I noticed the changes you made and I agree with those changes made.

You don't have permission to comment on this page.