Today was a road-trip first! I trekked down I-35 to NECC in San Antonio with Charlie Mahoney, Kevin Honeycutt, Dean Mantz, Michelle Honeycutt, and Ginger Lewman. Since we had multiple Macbook laptops in our two cars, a mobile AT&T 3G wireless card, and a DV camcorder with a long firewire cable, naturally when we got into the Ft Worth / 3G wireless network area we decided to attempt an ad-hoc videoconference between our two vehicles over bonjour and a live webcast over Ustream.tv. The amazing thing is, it all worked! We probably should have ratcheted down the video quality a bit, but the audio was great and although the video frame rate isn’t superb, it is amazing we could share this video webcast at all from an Interstate highway in Texas. The complete video is just under 19 minutes long. Initially we had the audio set to use the laptops’ built-in mic, but about 3 minutes into the recording we switched to DV audio (the camcorder’s mic) and that picked up our voices much better. Among other things we discussed our personal expectations and goals for NECC 2008.

Web TV provided by Ustream

To create this mobile videoconference and webcast, Charlie and Kevin connected their Mac laptops via an ad hoc bonjour wireless network connection. Dean did a masterful job driving close behind our vehicle, so the cars stayed within wireless range of each other. Ginger used my Sierra Wireless 881 USB cell data card/modem to connect my Macbook to the AT&T 3G network, and then to my UStream.tv channel. Ginger announced our live webcast over Twitter on my account, and we started… I think we had three live viewers during the webcast, and one of them was Dean Shareski, who we’ll see Saturday at Edubloggercon. What fun!

Our 12 hour road trip today (for those who started in Kansas) was a blast. I would liken it to a “lock-in” for adults! Even better than the fun and excitement of a live webcast from the highway was the opportunity to have great conversations about our lives, our work, our families, and our hopes for the future. We did stop by Deno’s Fried Pies off exit 51 in Oklahoma (which I recorded a video podcast about last November) and introducing four Kansans to this culinary experience was also a trip highlight!

Now, at last, we’re here in San Antonio! NECC 2008 is shaping up to be a great educational technology conference, and the formal conference has not even started yet! 🙂

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8 Responses to Live from I-35: Moving at the Speed of Creativity enroute to NECC

  1. Kim Caise says:

    Thank you for taking time to share this with us. I am so into videoconferencing/ streaming/webcasting and absolutely love to see it in action!

    Km

  2. Sherry says:

    That’s what I did wrong when I started in Kansas – I didn’t have friends to keep me amused on the trip! Yours looked like way more fun!

  3. Wesley Fryer says:

    You are both welcome! We feared this might have the production allure of “The Blair Witch Project,” but it turned out reasonably well– certainly it is exciting to see that these types of remote connectivity experiences are now possible with consumer-level computers and data cards!

  4. The first week of June found us headed to Cisco’s offices in Richardson at the same time Randy Rogers asked us to Skype into an administrator’s meeting to share the power of connectivity in his ISD. We fired up the Verizon air card and never missed a beat all along I-20. The quality was awesome, and the superintendent riding with us could not believe that this was even possible. Randy’s administrators were excited as well. Thanks for sharing your event demonstrating the anytime, anywhere nature of technology these days. While this type of activity may not exactly be useful in a classroom, they can surely find other ways to be remote and use it in an educational setting with even a little imagination. Our district is using the technology for live streaming from our Nature Center that we are building.

  5. Wesley Fryer says:

    Scott: I think we’ll find ways for this type of connectivity to be important in the classroom… Mobile Digital Storytelling has big possibilities as we invite students to teach and lead, particularly virtual field trips in their local community. Glad to hear you had good success with mobile webcasting too!

  6. Hey, I think I must have been one of your live viewers! I had clicked on the twitter link, but it didn’t load, so I went to bed (in Australia) leaving my computer on downloading podcasts and obviously the page open. At 4am my husband and I were woken to the sound of loud voices with American accents in our study! I must confess to not having stayed awake to listen at 4am but will give it a go now…

  7. […] Live from I-35: Moving at the Speed of Creativity enroute to NECC » Moving at the Speed of Creativi… Check out this video that was streamed live to the internet from a moving car using a 3G wireless card. What an awesome example of doing something as an experiment just for the sake of seeing if it can be done! Educators learning for learning’s sake. (tags: WesFryer video ustream cool) […]

  8. […] Mahoney, and Dean Mantz was one of the top highlights of the week. On the way down we engaged in some seriously geeky intra-car bonjour networking and video iChatting as well as live webcasting, which was certainly great fun. On the way back, however, our discussions (or at least much of the […]

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