Where phone and Skype remain the gold standard for one-to-one communication (and learning), many of us find value in conference calls, irrespective of the technology (phone, Skype, Webex, Hangouts…) used.
Conference calls may seem as unimpressive or mundane as that other piece of paradigm-changing learning technology, the whiteboard – but that’s the point. They are learning technology that is already embedded into the fabric of work, and directly contribute to informal and incidental learning across time and geography.
The pedagogical affordances of conference calls include structure, transparency, dialogue, and accountability.
- “Structured agenda”
- “Used as a to-do list”
- “Ensures that I’m focusing on kind of priority one-two-three”
- “A very good way to stay organized when you have people traveling”
- “forces us to be transparent”
- “If there are cloudy areas, it exposes [them] and moves us forward.”
- “anyone can join ”
- “a forum”
- “open discussion”
- “conversation is a much more efficient way to work than using email in a lot of cases”
- “So you say look: why don’t we get on the phone and talk this through. ”
- “your peers and your colleagues are on the calls”
- “allows for people to say, by the way here is an issue that I am facing that I haven’t thought about.”
Photo: Doc Porter Museum of Telephone History, Houston Texas, USA (Texas.713/flickr.com)