Thing 15: Video chat/webinars

It wasn’t all that long ago that video calling was the preserve of science fiction. Now, many of us walk around with this technology in our pockets and bags.

Open Badge information

Open Badge: SSSC 23 Things Digital – Thing 15: Video Chat/Webinars.

Counts toward: SSSC 23 Things: Digital Communicator.


Video chatting using platforms such as Skype, Facetime and Google Hangouts across multiple devices is now well established and provides a great way for people to stay in touch. Webinars allow large numbers of people from across the world to take part in events to support their learning. This thing will help you explore some of the opportunities these technologies present.


a) Skype and Facetime

Skype is available on multiple platforms, whereas Facetime is restricted to Apple products. If you’ve ever used one of these applications, think about what the experience was like. Were you using it over a wired, WiFi or mobile phone network?

Think about the way(s), if any, that you currently use video chat to support your practice and learning. Have you ever supported someone who uses your service to contact a friend of relative using these services?

b) Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts is a text and video service provided by Google. You can send text messages and video chat or ‘hangout’ with one or more people at a time, or choose to broadcast your video hangouts publicly so anyone can tune in and watch. It can be used to keep in touch, hold conference calls, broadcast a talk or event, and to provide an online space for people to chat/hangout.

Download the Google Hangout app for your smartphone or tablet and invite others to do the same so you can try it out.

Consider how this technology could be used in your setting. For example, could team meetings or supervision sessions incorporating remote workers be carried out using such a platform?

c) Webinars

Webinars (web seminars) are seminars, or meetings, which people connect to using the internet. They allow multiple people to connect with each other using live video and audio in real time. They can be free to access, or paid-for.

Webinars often involve a presentation which will appear on your screen, and there is usually an opportunity to ask the presenter questions and other participants using text or video and audio.

Depending on the platform used to host the webinar, other functions such as the ability to run and carry out polls and surveys are available.

The SSSC Learning Technologies Team run webinars on specific topics throughout the year and you can find the details of these here.

Recordings of the webinars are usually made available after the session so you can go back and watch and listen again. For example, the SSSC Learning Technologies ‘How to issue Open Badges’ webinar from February 2017 can be viewed here.

d) Blog.

Write a blog post reflecting on the activities above. You should consider the benefits of video chat in comparison to other ways of communicating. You should also explore any potential risks involved in using this technology with people who use services and think about how you can manage these to allow people to enjoy the opportunities they present? If you have ever taken part in a webinar, you should describe that experience.

Image credit: Facetime by Thomas van de Weerd licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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