W o K     :     Ways of Knowing

A Virtual Seminar


The New WoK Wiki

Here is my summary of the talk for the web-site:

I gave a talk about WoKipedia, the WoK wiki. It was a theory and practice talk: I first gave a powerpoint presentation of what the wiki is and why we would want to use it, and then used an in-world browser to demonstrate how to use it.

For this kind of talk, I think the experience in WoK forums is superior to real-world talks and to shared-desktop technology.

During the powerpoint portion all of the attention was on the powerpoint and voice. I didn't have to worry about where to look, how to position my body, or how to keep track of notes and look at the audience at the same time. I imagine that from the participants perspectives it was also simpler--they didn't have to worry about other people in the room, whether to look at the speaker or the powerpoint, or sitting in cramped, uncomfortable chairs. All of their attention could be on the presentation and on what I was saying.

During the browser portion we had the tremendous advantage of everyone being able to look at the same browser window. I could use my mouse to point at whatever aspects of the page I liked, and again I could focus on just talking and giving the demonstration.

There was also the advantage of the sense of being in the same room.

If I were just using software that allowed everyone to see my desktop that sense wouldn't be there. It would be like very distant people all looking at the same information. But in this case it was like people somehow in the same room looking at the same information. Then, after the talk, we could break away from the panels and stand in the room to discuss it. If I were using desktop sharing software that wouldn't have been possible.

Andrew McGowan

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