Another up the hill in terms of the steepness of the learning curve! Have had a ball learning about Elluminate and all the benefits and possibilities of its use for PD and in the classroom. Elluminate is the online learning platform being used for the Global Education Conference. It is like an online conference venue where you have separate rooms, breakout rooms, etc.
Co-ordinating all the time zones has also been a great learning experience.
The tools that the room offers are fantastic. Each room has its own whiteboard that people can write on and participate, you can talk to each other - a bit like Skype, use the online tools, add in presentations and documents, work on documents together at the same time, share websites and link them in so that they can be explored at the same time, participate in chat... This is all live and I can see the potential for its use in the classroom.
I have talked to soem of the other teachers and they are keen to set up a 'meeting time' online where one class begins to write a story - the other classes see this come up instantly - and then the next class adds to it and so on. At the same time they can talk to each other and share ideas for the next step in the story - another form of digital storytelling.
The sessions can be recorded and saved for later use - another benefit of this system.
Many universities, schools, businesses, etc are already using Elluminate. I would like to use it as another tool in my research for 2011.