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Reflection - Synchronous Chat Session with Blog Posting Assignment The communication tool I used to conduct the chat

session was Skype. Skype is a software application that allows users to make voice and video call and chats over the internet. Skype has also become popular for its additional features which include instant messaging, file transfer, and video conferencing. The video conferencing aspect of Skype was used as the teaching tool which brought five group members from across the globe to discuss pertinent issues related to blogs and other Web 2.0 tools which were read and discovered for module #3 assignments. The tips brought to the chat session in Skype were very helpful because they were used to facilitate the chat flawlessly. I was able to monitor the time limit of each presenter very effectively and there was a smooth transition from one speaker to another. I felt empowered being the facilitator and it was a great accomplishment for me being placed in a managerial role where I was able to schedule and coordinate the conference. The chat session in the conference occurred in real time which created a community of learning and interacting with group members. We met face-to-face through the use of videos where visual cues were evident especially when a point was being emphasized by one of the group members. We were able to see the head shakes, the gestures, the smiles, the grins, etc. all displayed by each group member. This sort of setting provided a sense of connectedness with each other and we were able to collaborate on most points discussed during the session. On the other hand, there are some negative things about the Skype being an effective video conference chat tool, one has to have broadband Internet service to make the connection before he/ she can be invited to the conference. When you are connected to Skype, you can be easily be disconnected due to narrow bandwidth or slow Internet connections. For example, I was „bumped‟ during the chat session a couple of times and had was to be reconnected as quickly as possible because I did not want to miss out on any point being discussed. At one point I had was to reboot my PC before I could get reconnected. Additionally, problems can arise when people come from different time zones resulting in setting a suitable conference time that is satisfactory for everyone. Other problems or drawbacks included, but are not limited to the need of participants to have prior training before joining the conference, the need to have a working webcam and or headset with microphone. At the same time, the rapid pace of presentation without instant playback can lead to cognitive overload, since participants at all times will be holding and processing information in their short term and long term memory respectively. Although Skype video conference tool has several disadvantages, its advantages outweighs its disadvantages; as a result, it can be incorporated parallel to a LMS in the school system where instructors can meet students and deal with them on a one-to-one basis or in small groups to clear up a point, discuss a topic, etc. Feedback is spontaneous because the video conference happens in real time. “Through interactions, students are able to construct their own knowledge, develop schemas, and participate in their own personal meaning making. They are active participants in the learning process.” Dawley, L. (2007) p. 125 - 126.