Services like Skype have made the long awaited concept of “video phone” a reality by using software to send and receive audio and video over the internet. These services are typically used to keep in touch with family and friends and also for business meetings.
Over the last couple of weeks we have begun experimenting with Skype to help the tenants get familiar with how it works and to make the connection between our advice portal themes (sending messages across time and space) and these emerging kinds of “tele-presence” technology.
The key part of the session has been our invited skype-ins where we have asked some of our colleagues, friends, relatives and twitter contacts to be our guests over Skype. (A summary of each of these is below.) We specifically invited people who would not only have something interesting to say but also something interesting to show.
One ever present in the sessions has been Willie, who has met each of the groups and hosted a game of bingo (above). Using the Skype for traditional social activities is something we will be exploring further. We also tried to come up with some more active scenarios which are made possible by the fact that we can see one another (and this is something we intend to investigate more in future weeks).
Rod (above, right – pictured a colleague visiting from Ghana) is a scientist working with insects and conducting research into contagious diseases. It was fascinating for the tenants to meet Rod, because most people would not get the opportunity to see inside this kind of laboratory or to ask questions about such a specialised area.
Anne-Claire is originally from France but lives in the UK. She spoke to the group about her experiences of living here and also about olive oil production!
Olivia is a theatre set designer. She showed some of her models for furniture and this showed some of the interesting possibilities for playing with scale and special effects using video.
Alan skyped in on a particularly snowy day from Allenheads, which is the village in Northumbria which is at the highest altitude in the UK. Despite the remote location we were still able to see and speak with Alan and this demonstrated one o the many positive things about advances in communications technology.
Pete is an artist and he took the opportunity to show some of his work and even to do some sketching.
Carl responded to one of our twitter requests (we hadn’t met him before the session.) He makes electronic music and gave a live performance for our gathered audience.