Glow Pilot

I have rather let the blog lapse recently as I have been busy exploring Glow, as part of another trial. I have spent most of my time using Glow Meet, which is the name given to the Video Conferencing system which is actually a Marratech product. It is a bit slow to start up but once going it is certainly one of the better VC systems I have used. The main video window tracks to whoever is speaking and it does it pretty well so it is easy to follow a conversation. So far we have hosted up to about a dozen concurrent users with no deterioration in quality. It is definitely a plus for Glow and I am sure will prove a very useful tool.

The second online conference with as small group of mentors administered by Tess Watson and including John Johnston, Andrew Brown, Neil Winton, David Noble and others was a great success which I for one certainly hope becomes a regular feature of Glow.

There is ongoing criticism of the Glow Groups and the difficulties using it for a multiplicity of discussions. However, as I have said elsewhere, if we think of the group as meeting space or collaborative working space where pupils will concentrate their efforts around a single topic, a lot of the problems are reduced. This is highlighted by the fact that pupils in earlier trials were very happy with the Glow Groups whereas more experienced users have found that it does not fulfill their need for a slick discussion forum. There is a case as suggested by Neil Winton, for using one of the free discussion forums as a plugin to Glow.

There are still some inconsistencies in the Glow interface which are being reported and I hope will be corrected by the time of the full roll-out. For relatively inexperienced users it is essential that there is no ambiguity in the navigation or the terminology.

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5 thoughts on “Glow Pilot

  1. whereas more experienced users have found that it does not fulfill their need for a slick discussion forum The danger is by giving Scottish Education such a limited discussion tool will limit how the portal can be used. I do not think anyone can predict how software will be used in school (when blogs were started did anyone imagine that thousands of children would be using them as part of their education?). We do not know what kind of discussions we will be having a few years down the line and the software needs to be flexible enough to cope with that.
    I feel quite sorry for the people working for glow who have to wade through the feedback forums, with not latest posts or search.

  2. If the alerts actually gave the text of the comment on the discussion board, then at least you could track it another way by converting it to RSS, but alas!

    I’m glad you pointed out the usability issues of navigation and terminology Bob – this is key to its success?

  3. John – I agree with what you say. I am trying to make the best of what we have. Some of the things surrounding groups will not happen but there are some things that can be changed for the better. A name change for Glow Groups would be a pointer as to how they are best used.

    Andrew – I like the idea of quotes from alerts. I would have thought that it was possible to make that change.

    Sharepoint which drives Glow was of course intended for business where you are talking about largely discreet working groups. Our section within Dundee IT Support used Sharepoint as a trial and the discussions were really a very minor part of our everyday use of it. Even with very few participants it was however only too easy to lose documents. Hence my concerns about sub groups within the individual “My Glow” sites.

  4. I suppose the danger in giving the full text in the email alert would mean that you wold just read the text in the email, and not go into the discussion area to read it? The bonus for me would be that you could have the emails go to an account that you don’t bother checking, convert them to an RSS feed using a free online tool and then track them as we would like? Not ideal, but a good workaround. Even if the email contained the first ‘x’ characters of the discussion post it would be a good start.

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