The 5 Best Collaboration Tools

The most important aspect of working in a team is efficient collaboration. No matter how skilled the individual members, they will never function properly as a team if they can’t cooperate with one another. Although no substitute for an inability to collaborate, there are many tools to improve a team’s ability to work together remotely. Here are the best 5 collaboration tools for your home or business:… Read more →

Are conference calls better than the Seeing Stones of Númenor?

Some time around 1930, JRR Tolkien started off the whole Lord of the Rings series by telling his children bed time stories about a little character he called “The Hobbit.” He’d been dreaming up the world of the Hobbit since he was a child himself. In doing so, Tolkien pretty much invented the whole “Fantasy Adventure with Elves and Dwarves” genre single handedly.

Seeing stones and conference calls
Are conference calls better than Palantíri for keeping in touch?

He also proposed what is perhaps the most glamorous conference call technology of all time, the Palantíri, or seeing Stones of Númenor. These were a set of 7 crystal balls that could be used for videoconferencing from Eressëa all the way across Middle Earth.

In these latter days, the stones are lost, the Elves have sailed into the West, and the “little folk” are only a bustle in the hedgerow. Today we can pick our smartphones out of our “pocketses” and videoconference with three people spread across three continents for free.

But if you had the choice, which one is better: a conference call, or a Seeing Stone of Númenor?

Read more →

FreeConference.com’s Free Calling App for Android and iPhone

People have started relying on their smartphones for larger and larger parts of their lives. Long gone are the days of the archaic flip-phone. As technology has improved, people have begun using their phones for just about everything, including social media, scheduling and planning, the latest news, and of course standard phone functionality. It makes sense then to try out the FreeConference free calling app, available for both iOS and Android!

Read more →

7 Essential Apps for the Busy Professional

Busy? On the go? Too much on your plate? No matter how you say it, there’s always more to do than time allows. These apps will help maximize your time, keeping you as efficient as can be.

  1. Echo Sign: Lets you directly sign and send contracts right from your mobile phone.Busy? Use Apps
  2. Trello: Great for managing projects, creating lists and sub-lists
  3. Buffer: Schedule all your social media posts on the go with the user friendly Buffer app.
  4. MeetingMogul: Access all your meetings and conference calls in one app.
  5. Dropbox: Store documents or other files, easily send out to coworkers and friends.
  6. HipChat: On the go a lot? Keep in touch with your team through HipChat messenger.
  7. Google Analytics: Access all your website date in one place at the touch of a finger.

Read more →

How to Utilize Video Conferencing in the Classroom

 

Imagine bringing a NASA astronaut into your classroom to tell your students about what it’s like to spend a day in the international space station. Does this idea seem far-fetched? It shouldn’t! With online conference and video calling on your side, the sky really is the limit for your class.

Classroom Video ConferencingThis guide illustrates the nearly endless possibilities of an online conference call program for you and your students. It details potential incorporations into classroom lessons, video-based field trips, and even administrative uses. Don’t let distance or restricted budgets stand in your way of exciting lessons — let web conferencing be your ultimate tool!

How to use conference and video calling in the classroom

Collaborative learning with another classroom is valuable because it’s an exciting way for students to break out of their usual peer surroundings and hear outside perspectives. However, it’s not exactly easy to simply uproot your students and head to another school (or even another classroom down the hallway). So how can you help your students branch out and get exposed to new ideas?

Suppose local government has proposed renovations for what they argue is an outdated, run-down section of the city. It’s caused a stir because it’s home to numerous independent businesses who oppose any changes. You’ve had a class discussion on the topic, but think students could benefit from hearing opposing viewpoints. By web conferencing with another class in your district, your students can have a lively debate about the economic and social benefits of a change, as well as potential repercussions. It will give a completely different perspective — for example, the students at the other school may live closer to the area and have insight into current crime in the region and how they think renovation may help. Or perhaps they’re more familiar with the neighborhood and feel the changes will scare off current clientele. Video conferencing offers an easy outlet for students to exchange ideas and learn from peers they normally couldn’t reach out to.… Read more →

Participatory Education and Conference Calls

 

Can participatory education save polar bears from extinction?

The Digital Age and Democracy
The digital age is making participatory education and democracy that much easier. It might just save us.

It is a question that runs through the minds of those of us old enough to realize that our generation bears a great degree of responsibility for the complete mess the world is in.

And the tragically bad puns. Bears?

On the good side, we tore the Berlin Wall down, got the lead out of gasoline, and broke Nelson Mandela out of Robben Island into the South African presidency.

But there’s still a lot of work to be done to ensure that Manhattan does not become the “Scuba Museum of Twenty-First Century Excess.”

A city sunk by its idling yellow cabs.

As Syria goes up in smoke and Soho slowly submerges, it can be refreshing or hopeful for us guilt-wracked geezers to get involved with the education of young people. Maybe we can make their cleanup job a little easier. Or should we just focus on getting out of their way?

But some of us are in positions of influence, and changing the educational curricula to incorporate self-knowledge systems such as Meyers-Briggs profiling could only help. Enshrining conflict resolution, good teamwork and communication skills into the heart of our primary schools would be wonderful place to start too.

But here is an incendiary idea that would really help change the world for the better.

Instead of talking down to children for 12 years, why don’t we give them a revolutionary and effective communication tool called participatory education? It even comes in a digital form, and you know they’ll like that.

Read more →

Conference Calls and Multidisciplinary Design Teams

Wooden Skyscraper - UBC
When you create an innovative project brimming with new ideas, make sure your toolkit includes teleconferencing

What will soon be North America’s tallest wood framed building is under construction at the University of British Columbia (UBC). One of the world’s new “wooden skyscrapers,” it demonstrates that
environmentally friendly wood can be used as the framework to build large structures just as economically and safely as less ecological concrete, glass and steel.

One of the key tools in both its conception and construction will have been the conference call.

The project brought together a dozen partners, and engaged a design team on several continents. An incredible amount of information needed not only to be shared, but worked on in a collaborative process.

As a new project under a very public microscope, the residence couldn’t afford mistakes.

The project is a perfect example of how conference calls can help keep a multidisciplinary team connected for a successful project.

Read more →

What do Telecaster and Teleconferencing have in Common?

Telecasters and Teleconferencing are both 1950’s technology that completely transformed the world back in their heyday. They remain relevant today through their simple, and honest effectiveness.

Both of them are communication technologies that help many people share experiences at together, at once. What Telecasters and Teleconferencing have in common is their unique ability to help communicators express themselves without getting in the way.

Read more →

The basics: what you need to know about WebRTC

WebRTC logo

 

WebRTC (Web Real Time Communications) is gaining notoriety as the next generation of audio and video conferencing products hit the market – but many still people aren’t too clear on what it is and how it applies to them. Here at FreeConference, we’re building some really exciting new products using WebRTC and, while we can’t wait to share them with you, we thought this was the perfect time to give you some insight into what WebRTC is and how it works.

So, without further adieu –

What is WebRTC?

WebRTC is an HTML-5 based, open source project for browser-based real-time communications – which means that it enables communication directly between browsers without plug-ins, making file sharing and audio and video communication much, much simpler for users.

Many of the products using WebRTC so far, like FreeConference Connect, focus on audio and video conferencing – particularly for groups. The peer-to-peer nature of WebRTC makes for a much stronger, higher definition connection than traditional VoIP calls. Some innovators, though, are using WebRTC for file sharing – removing the need to upload the file to a server; instead, users download the file directly from the person on the other end, speeding up the process considerably.

What are the benefits of WebRTC?

No downloads — At the moment WebRTC is supported in Chrome, Firefox and Opera on all desktop operating systems and most Android devices, meaning you can make a call or send a file using any WebRTC-based service from your computer, laptop, android tablet or phone without downloading any additional programs. If you use a browser that hasn’t yet built-in WebRTC capabilities, like Safari or Internet Explorer, there are plug-ins available that enable WebRTC for you.

Cross-platform — Since WebRTC is HTML-5 based it can run in almost any browser, on almost any platform, without difficulty – as long as the teams behind your browser and OS are on board. Since WebRTC is still fairly new, not all browsers support it and it is not available on iOS – yet – but we would be willing to bet that it won’t be long before it is.

Better connection — The direct browser-to-browser connection is much stronger than traditional VoIP connections, which means HD quality audio and video conferencing, faster file transfers and fewer dropped calls.

tablet

How you can use WebRTC?

So this whole WebRTC thing sounds pretty neat, right? Even better, you can try it, for free, right now by visiting www.freeconference.co.uk. For the moment WebRTC is only supported by Chrome, Firefox and Opera (on both desktop and Android), but there are plug-ins available for Safari and Internet Explorer. While we have no idea what goes on at Microsoft and Apple, we’re hopeful that we’ll see this technology available across all platforms soon.