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On-Line Learning

Maya Taya Arie & Shlomo Maital

   My granddaughter Maya asks: Is there significance to using a white board or Power Point in an on-line presentation.

   My (Shlomo) answer:   Let’s assume that you, online learning facilitator, are using Zoom. There is a free version that is very useful. It is widely used.   ZOOM has zoomed in value – and it is now a unicorn, with market value of its shares exceeding $1 billion. And they deserve it.

      Zoom was founded in 2011 by Eric Yuan, a lead engineer from Cisco Systems and its collaboration business unit WebEx.[1] Yuan graduated from the Stanford University executive program and was previously vice president of engineering at Cisco for collaboration software development. David Berman, from WebEx and Ring Central, became president in November 2015. The service started in January 2013 and by May 2013, it claimed one million participants.

  If you can give a talk (note: try to keep it short!) without white board or Power Point – great! But generally there are data and facts and key points we need to put on the screen. Power Point can be used as a virtual white board – open it, and you can type on the slide as you speak…. Sometimes this is better than showing a pre-prepared slide, as it unfolds and evolves as the learner watches. (On Zoom: click on ‘share’ to open Power Point and share it with viewers).

If you have bandwidth problem (low capacity WiFi), you can just use “audio” on Zoom, and speak without video. This is not a bad option.

   For Power Point: use 28 point or 32 point fonts. No smaller!   Do not put too much stuff on the slide.   Be ready to make your slides available to your viewers, if they request them by email.

    Find ways to make your talk interactive, even if you have many viewers. There is a ‘chat’ button on Zoom. You can have your viewers ask questions by writing text through the “Chat” button, to avoid the chaos of many viewers asking questions at once.  

   Make time for this. After say 10 minutes, pause, and ask for chat questions….

   In our next blog, we’ll talk about other ways to make online learning interactive.




My Apology to Technology: Sorry!

By Shlomo Maital

Dear Technology,

OK – I know. I’ve written many hard words about you, especially about social media, how they distribute fake news, ruin our trust in experts and in one another, waste our time, destroy face-to-face social contact…ruinous!

   And then – the coronavirus. We have organized family Whatsapp gatherings, with our kids and grandkids in LA, NYC, and various sites in Israel…seeing those beautiful faces keeps us healthy.

   Yesterday we had a regular class with our Rabbi Elisha, with 11 participants, including Q&A and lively discussion, on Zoom. A whole program of lectures has been organized by our Synagogue.

   I’ve been videotaping (with Zoom) lectures on entrepreneurship and startups, and recycling old tapes, these have a new life as everyone is at home and often online.

   My wife Sharona observes that we are not engaged in social isolation, or separation, but in spatial separation. Stay together, but stay apart, is the message. And the only way to do this safely is through technology. Thank heavens for Outlook, Zoom, Whatsapp, Facetime, Facebook…and, yes, hard to say it, but yes, for Twitter.

   So – sorry, Technology. This is my Apology. We need you more than ever. You are coming through for us just when we need you. If we did not have you, it would be hard to bear the isolation, especially for us grandparents and seniors.

   Yours truly,   Shlomo Maital


Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital