The problem always was lack of a speakerphone. I managed to solve the problem by purchasing Skype-out credits so I could dial-in to the landline we needed to connect to via the computer, so we could hear and participate in various online webinars. If the hosts used VOIP, we were all set for audio, but still each had to come up to use the microphone on the computer to ask a question. And, for simple conference calls, it got a little bit crowded as everyone huddled around the speakerphone in my office.
|IPEVO X1-N6 Internet Conference Station|
Well, I can now go mobile with the IPEVO X1-N6 Internet Conference Station ($139)! This device is both a USB speaker and a USB microphone. I will simply have to bring the laptop to a conference room, plug in the IPEVO Internet Conference Station to a USB port, log-on to the webinar, choose the device as both the audio input and output devices, and everyone in the room will be able to clearly hear the webinar over the speaker in the Internet Conference Station, as well as easily contribute to the collaborative conversations that might occur. The device also has a mute button to mute the local sound when just listening to the online presentation.
However, the Internet Conference Station can be used ANY time one wants to get a group together to discuss something. For example, students creating an audio file as the backdrop for a slide show or movie can just plug in the device and each can easily add their thoughts. I also see the device being used by a student podcaster who is interviewing a small group of students, staff, or community members. The Internet Conference Station can be chosen as the audio input for apps such as Jing, GarageBand, Audacity, Adobe Connect, Microsoft PowerPoint, and any other app that allows the choice of the audio input device.
If you have any ideas on how the IPEVO Internet Conference Station might be used in an educational setting, add a comment! Thanks!