I received a question from Amy Hopkins in northeast Texas today that may be on the minds of more educators: “How can I join tonight’s skypecast?” (Last night’s published podcast and my July 25th post “Let’s brainstorm ideas for Storychasers” provide more background about this.) Before I answer that question, I want to point out it’s been awhile since I hosted a Skypecast, and I’ve been surprised as well as disappointed to see that some of the “live skypecasts” which are ongoing this afternoon / evening are quite inappropriate / offensive judging by the custom images the “hosts” have uploaded. The Skypecast website lets other users flag Skypecasts as “inappropriate,” but apparently that system is not working very well. I flagged several I saw tonight as inappropriate based on the uploaded images, hopefully the Skypecast admins will take those offline. :-(

I also have run into trouble joining a Skypecast from my Macintosh computer, which is running the latest version of the OS X operating system (10.5.4) as well as the latest version of Skype for Mac: 2.7. When I try to join a Skypecast on my Mac using either the Safari or FireFox web browser, I see the following message designed for Windows users:

Skypecasts and Mac compatibility

At this point, it appears that Mac users cannot join Skypecasts. MAJOR PROBLEM. Fortunately, I have access to a WindowsXP computer that I can use for this evening’s skypecast, but I’m guessing there may be some educators out there on Macs that may not be able to join. If that is the case for you, I offer my sincere apologies. I would NOT have scheduled this event as a Skypecast if I knew it wouldn’t be accessible to both Mac and Windows computer users. :-( Instead I would have probably tried to arrange to use an Elluminate room, have tried Flashmeeting, or have reached out to the great folks at EdTechTalk to find an open day and time on their calendar. This also may throw a crimp in my plans to record the call– I am setup to record skype calls on my Mac but not on a Windows machine… Time to do some scrambling. Hopefully I’ll be able to record the call, and if I do I will post the recording here later.

It’s been awhile since I’ve hosted a formal “skypecast” (as opposed to just a multi-person audio conference in Skype) but as far as I know these are the steps you’ll need. Remember the skypecast will begin this evening, Wednesday July 20th, at 7 pm US Central time.

  1. Set up Skype: If you have not already, download and install Skype. Be sure you have a RECENT version. Currently version 3.2 is required for Windows users to join Skypecasts, as far as I know version 2.7 for Mac users. (It is free but you’ll need administrative rights to install new software on the computer you are using.) Log in with your userid and password to
    Skype. Make sure your microphone is plugged in and working.
  2. Website log in: Log in to the main Skype website. You’ll need to be logged in to join the Skypecast when it begins.
  3. At the start of the Skypecast (7 pm US Central time tonight) click on this link to visit the Skypecast page. Click the link “Join this Skypecast” which will appear once the Skypecast start time has passed. On a Windows computer you should be presented with a dialog window which asks for your permission to launch an external application (Skype) and you’ll need to click yes to authorize that. Then you should be in the Skypecast. We’ll do introductions for at least the first ten minutes, so if you join late that is fine.
  4. Be ready to participate! Depending on the number of participants we have, we may have everyone’s mic on or mics may be muted to minimize background noise. If mics are muted, you’ll want to click the button in the skypecast window which shows the names of all the people online to virtually “raise your hand” and ask to speak. In Skype 3.2 for Windows, this is a button in the Skype window which says “Ask for the mic.” As the skypecast moderator, I’ll unmute participant mics individually so you can speak and have the floor! We should also have a skype chat window available which can be used as a backchannel to ask questions, share ideas, and further challenge everyone’s multi-tasking abilities! I’ll do my best to keep up with the backchannel, but it certainly can be challenging to both read text chat and talk about an idea at the same time.

Again, here’s the link to join the Skypecast in an hour. Hope you can make it! :-)

I’ve posted a basic agenda / outline for tonight’s skypecast to the Storychasers website. This is just a suggested guideline, we can deviate from this if needed.

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