Biz-e-tech training / Text and Video Chat
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Text and Video Chat

Page history last edited by Carl Dowse 14 years ago

Video conferencing


Here are some suggestions:



A free online webmeeting tool. You can share files - such as PowerPoint presentations or .pdf documents, your desktop and collaborate on a whiteboard. It has both text and video chat. I have used this and it works well, but had the following intermittent problems:


  • time lag (delay) on the voice,
  • the text chat window not appearing and
  • the session recording only picking up the host's voice.


The tool is, however, free and overall it works well. Upgrade available.



A free online webmeeting tool. You can upload files to your personal library and share them during sessions. These can be PowerPoint presentations, .pdf documents, and even video.  You can collaborate in real-time on a whiteboard. It has both text and video chat. I have used this and it works well, but had the following intermittent problems:


  • time lag (delay) on the voice,
  • the session recording sometimes being jumbled up.


The tool is, however, free and overall it works well. Upgrade available.



Free (with ads) video and text chat. Can be embedded into a web page. No experience of this tool



Combining the Skype telephony service with other tools offers interesting possibilities for conferencing. The idea being that you can use Skype conference call for the voice chat - this is a robust, reliable service with other easy to use applications for sharing other media such as whiteboards or files or even your desktop.




Use Skype for voice conferencing and at the same time share files (very easily) with (see the File-sharing page here for more on this free web-based tool. I have used this - not extensively - and it seems to work very nicely. What's particularly good about this combination is that it involves no extra downloading of software for and not even any registration. So, a nice user-friendly experience for your learners.


Again use Skype for voice conferencing and at the same time share files and very interestingly your desktop. His looks like a good combination, especially as no downloading is involved for your participants, but you as host need to download and install a client. So again it should be trouble-free for your learners to join sessions so long as they are up and running with Skype.


If you just need a whiteboad for your online meeting then Twiddla is a good option. It has document upload and its own voice chat functions, but I've found these to be a little hit 'n' miss. The whiteboard, however,  works well and so too does the text chat. The interface is simple, attractive and user-friendly. And importantly, inviting your learners to the room is very easily done.


Text chat


Adding text chat tools to a class wiki provides a place for learners to meet and interact (with or without a tutor) to practise their English synchronously. 


This is a Meebo chat room, which has the added bonus of allowing you to embed video.


Create a Meebo Chat Room


To get a chat room like this you need to register with meebo and then go to meebo rooms. It seems you can create as many rooms as you like and all for free!


Please let us know what you think and if you have some suggestions for how to present this kind of tool to students with ideas for how they should use it please jot them down below. 


Whiteboards & Collaborative Communication Tools 


Here is a useful site which reviews a number of web tools specifically designed for collaboration such as shared workspaces and chat tools:


Collaborative tools




get your own embeddable forum with Talki


Comments (4)

Hazel Gruenewald said

at 9:59 am on May 21, 2009

Hi Carl,

I have been playing around with Skype + Yugma. It looks great - has a nice whiteboard and desktop sharing application as mentioned above. The snag is that the free trial is limited and then you have to upgrade at a price.


Carl Dowse said

at 10:25 am on May 21, 2009

Hi Hazel,

Yes, I agree, Yugma + Skype is a strong combination with great tools that all seem to work very well. BUT there is a problem which makes this not such an attractive proposition for teaching, namely the downloading and installing of the Yugma client (software) from within Skype failed when we tried it, and there were also problems with downloading and installing from the Yugma site itself. So, given that we can't really expect clients to fiddle around until the tool is finally installed and working we at The Consultants-e decided that unfortunately - given how well it works once installed - this wasn't a viable proposition.


Hazel Gruenewald said

at 10:49 am on May 21, 2009

Hi Carl,

In that case, I agree with you. You cannot expect students / clients to fiddle around too much with software. When I downloaded it, I was pretty lucky. However, I did not test out inviting anyone and did wonder if Iwould later encounter problems. Anyway, thanks for the above info. I think this is very useful.

By the way, there is some good info on collaborative tools to be found at the following URL:




Carl Dowse said

at 11:57 am on May 21, 2009

Hi Hazel,

Thanks for the link - very handy collection. I've used some of the whiteboards and again one of those plus Skype would be very useful for teaching at a distance. Most have a URL that you simply share with learners, so again trouble free participation. I've just tested Yuuguu and it works very well with Skype - very smooth integration. and the screen sharing works well and is quite responsive. Another powerful teaching option: Skype+Whiteboard+Screensharing. By the way, there's a Skype add-on for a whiteboard that is OK.

Please add your Wetpaint wiki link to the actual page when you have a moment - possiblly under a new heading for Whiteboards?



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