Using PowWow for Internet Teleconferencing
Teleconferencing represents the use of technology to facilitate people meeting without having to be in the same location and the same time. This activity describes PowWow, a PC-based teleconferencing tool for the Internet. PowWow includes a chat window, shared whiteboard, Web tours, and the ability to send/receive files over the Internet. This activity describes where to find PowWow, how to download and install it, and where to find additional information on using PowWow for Internet teleconferencing.
- Learn where to download the PowWow software.
- Learn how to set up and use PowWow.
- Learn where to get more information on PowWow other Internet teleconferencing products.
Materials and Resources
In developing our lessons and activities, we made some assumptions about the hardware and software that would be available in the classroom for teachers who visit the LETSNet Website. We assume that teachers using our Internet-based lessons or activities have a computer (PC or Macintosh) with the necessary hardware components (mouse, keyboard, and monitor) as well as software (operating system, TCP/IP software, networking or dial-up software, e-mail and a World Wide Web client program, preferably Netscape, but perhaps Mosaic or Lynx). In the section below, we specify any "special" hardware or software requirements for a lesson or activity (in addition to those described above) and the level of Internet access required to do the activity.
- Special hardware requirements: none.
- Special software requirements: none.
- Internet access: High-speed (greater than 1 MBPS via network).
PowWow is an Internet teleconferencing tool for IBM PC's that have Windows 3.1, Windows/95 or Windows/NT. PowWow supports basic teleconferencing tools such as a shared whiteboard, chat window, and sending and receiving files, plus Web tours, which allow a group of people (up to seven) to visit specific Web sites that the tour guide specifies. PowWow, and other Internet or Web conferencing tools, allow participants to have ongoing discussions around topics of interest to them. These discussion can take place synchronously, where everyone agrees to participate in a chat room or window at a specific time, or asynchronously, where people send or receive messages, or check an online discussion forum, whenever they have time.
- Downloading PowWow: You can download PowWow from the Tribal Voice Website (see Internet Resources below). Using PowWow, you can set up or participate in conferences with up to seven other people on the Internet. Tribal Voice maintains a list of current public conferences, and you can easily establish your own private conference with peers or other classrooms. For example, there is an existing PowWow conference on education, the Education Station, which is managed by Monty Carlton at Tribal Voice.
- Installing PowWow: After you have downloaded the PowWow software, you run the .EXE file under windows to unzip the files. This creates a PowWow icon in a program group.
- Using PowWow: Using PowWow requires that you establish your Internet connection and start up your Web browser, then start PowWow. When PowWow opens for the first time, you are asked to supply local information, such as your PowWow address (if you are going to host a PowWow conference, you need an address for others to connect to), your e-mail address, a password, and optional information (real name, home page, and JPEG file of your choice which other PowWow users will see on their screen). Be sure to enter a password, something you will remember, and click on the Keep Password button. Next you will see the PowWow window on your screen. To join an existing PowWow conference, use your Web browser to visit the PowWow conference page (see Internet Resources below) and find the PowWow address of the conference there. Get back into PowWow and select the Conferences option under the Connect menu. You will be prompted for whether you are joining a conference in progress or hosting your own conference. Assuming you wanted to join the Education Station (a conference already in progress), you would type "email@example.com" as the PowWow address and then press the Connect button. Now you will see the chat window for an ongoing discussion about education. You can type comments and send them, view the current participants, send files, etc. You can also use the shared whiteboard by clicking on the "draw" icon. For more information on using PowWow or setting up your own conference, see the PowWow documentation.
- Alternatives to PowWow for Internet teleconferencing: There is a variety of alternative Internet teleconferencing tools available, with most of them requiring a Unix computer for operation. Discussion Web is a PC/Windows/NT-based product and Interaction/IP is a Macintosh-based product (see Internet Resources below). There are also more structured Internet discussion tools developed for learning, such as eWeb and the SpeakEasy, which can be used for similar purposes (see Internet Resources below).
- Tribal Voices Website
PowWow is a PC/Windows-based Internet teleconferencing system that supports up to seven people with a shared whiteboard, chat window, Web tours, voice, and conferencing.
- Conferencing on the Web
"A guide to software that powers discussion forums on the Web." Includes links to "free" Web conferencing software.
- Discussion Web
A Windows/NT-based Web group discussion product.
eWeb is an interactive learning environment for discussion on the Web.
- Global Chat
Information on configuring Netscape Navigator for chatting.
A Macintosh-based Web conferencing tool supporting threaded discussion forums and customizable chat rooms.
- Internet Relay Chat Information
A complete resource for learning more about Internet Relay Chat (IRC).
- The SpeakEasy
The SpeakEasy is a Web-based forum for discussion that is under development at the University of California, Berkeley.
- Web-Based Conferencing
Examples of Web-based conferencing for learning.
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