join.me: a virtual communication tool for higher education

As I always say, we are so lucky to get great feedback from our users every day. Lately, we’ve been seeing more and more people using join.me in higher education.  Whether you’re a teacher, a student, or both, join.me has been helping academia stay connected with its online meeting capabilities. Here’s some great feedback we’ve received recently:

“I’ve just started tutoring a group of young people as part of summer school… Not only did I use your service on my Windows Vista laptop, but I also presented it to them on Macs as well as Windows 7 on different browsers all at the same time. I could see the results were amazing. The students found it easier to follow on screen when completing walk through activities.”

“Excellent product!! Making it free makes it even more helpful for students like us who need to collaborate on assignments and deliverables.”

“It has been extremely helpful during my on-line course work to be able to show my instructor, mentor, and adviser where I was bogged down. It’s so much easier to show then to describe over the phone or on email. Also, I have students that I tutor who can use join.me to let me see what they are working on and dialog before they submit an incorrect answer. Love it all!!!!”

As a professor, join.me can help you be available to students on the fly. We spoke to Professor Rodney Farthing a few months ago to learn more about how he is using join.me by working remotely and holding virtual office hours for his students. Also, it’s a great instructional tool to help students who can’t attend class still participate – they can join your join.me session from wherever they are. No more snow days! (Just kidding.)

You probably remember what it’s like to do group projects – you still do something of the sort at your job every day. For students, join.me can help you collaborate with your peers and can make group projects easy. As more and more students take classes online, your group for a project could be spread across states or even countries and requires some serious virtual communication. Why not use join.me for some online group collaboration on a paper, or to research a topic together?

Are you a student or professor that uses join.me in the classroom? How are you using it? What do you love about it? Let us know in the comments.

         

Web collaboration: Using markup.io free drawing tool with join.me

About a week ago I was using join.me with a colleague checking out a website. Apparently we had different views of where “to the left” was (hey, it happens), so I pulled up markup.io to show them exactly where I meant. And then it hit me: I should share this tool with our join.me users. I already told you about Jing when I posted about favorite free tools, but markup.io is perfect for reviewing and collaborating on web pages. It’s fast, it’s simple and sits in your browser toolbar so you can easily pull it up. You can also “publish” your markups when you’re done and send them out. Check it out – it’s a perfect pair with join.me. Here’s an example:

         

How does join.me work? Take the tour

We created this video just for you to show you what join.me is all about. Take the tour:

Want more info? Check out our blog post on join.me tips and tricks.

         

join.me mobile viewers for iPhone/iPad now include VoIP

We know what you’re thinking: First Skype, and now this. What a day for big free screen-sharing and VoIP announcements.

The good stuff: You can now listen to the join.me conference line through the speakers of your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. For free. So, update your app (or download it from the Apple App Store) and check it out.

Need a visual? Here’s what it looks like on an Apple iPad 2.

To use VoIP, select the “phone” button in the join.me menu to “Call via Internet.” This allows you to listen to anyone that is speaking through the conference line in your session. And feel free to talk back – other participants in the session can hear you talk through your device’s speakers.

Your questions, already answered: VoIP for Android is coming soon. VoIP for Mac and PC is in the works. Want some traditional PR? Here it is in the join.me press room.

Have you used VoIP on your join.me mobile viewer yet? Let us know in the comments.

         

Make Your Presentation a Gift – a #smallbiz post by @ZaneSafrit

Good presentations are about giving. They are a gift. They are a personal gift from the speaker…to the audience.

Like all meaningful gifts, they are rare and precious. We share them and rave about them long after the meeting hall or conference call has ended.

Here are seven ways to make your presentation a gift to your audience.

Practice, Practice, Practice

One of the many ironies of social media’s rise is that as we are allowed more spontaneity in real-time connections, as we share in its power…then the power of preparation goes ignored. And by default its power rises as well.

The best presentations, the ones where the speaker seems casual and conversational and passionately engaging, are the presentations that have been practiced over and over and over again.

Give them Today

Give them a solution for today. No one expects a speaker to solve all of our problems right now. But leave them with a solution, a step to take, a tactic to use, a decision they can make that can solve one challenge …today.

Give Them Fun

We’re in short supply here for laughs, smiles, fun. Fun is the start of creativity and ideas. Fun starts engagement and participation. Fun is the gateway to memorable. And if you practice, practice, practice in order to give them a solution for today and in the process give them that added personal touch, you can have fun, give fun and be professional, too.

Give Them a Story

We all love stories. We are hard-wired to embrace stories. Stories connect a message with its teller and audience, our hearts and minds and journeys. Give them a story.

Give Them More PowerPoint Slides

Yes!

No. No one needs more powerpoint slides with more points in more 10-pt type. Nor do we need speakers who read those points and in effect give the presentation to the screen.

No.

Give Them Time to Engage

Leave time at the end for questions and answers. Their questions and answers.  Your audience should have questions if you have inspired and pushed and opened their vistas to more possibilities. They should be excited and agitated to connect their insights from your presentation with their needs.

Give Them You

You are the special sauce, the one-of-a-kind creation that connects with them and their special sauce…their one-of-a-kind creation. Mix it up with your preparation and solution – it’s a very tasty gumbo. Rare and one of a kind. Something they will savor and rave about later.

Package all these up. Give your audience the gift of an unique experience, an experience worthy of their time, with a gift of knowledge to take home and unwrap to bring a solution for their challenge. And you’ll be invited back again and again.

To learn more about Zane Safrit and what he’s up to, check out his website.

         

Offer Free Resources the Right Way – a #smallbiz post by @BeckyMcCray

Every small business owner runs into people asking for free help. They play twenty questions, trying to figure out how to do it themselves without hiring you. Handling them the right way can mean more paying customers. Handling them the wrong way will drive you crazy and hurt your bottom line.

You need ways to offer them something helpful, without cutting into your paid work time. Invest a little in educating them, because some will ultimately choose to hire you, or they may refer others to you in the future.

So how can you educate in a way that respects your time? Here are three ideas you can use.

Look through your blog archives. Create a single post with links and resources that can act as your educational tool. Then you can send people to it with a short, standard email, or you could even print it on business cards to hand out in person.

Publish yourself on paper. If you have an in-person business, paper makes more sense than electronic. Put together a simple handout or a booklet of information that you can give away. This could be the same information you’d put in the resource blog post.

Set up a regular workshop or seminar, maybe created with a local career and technical center. When the next person asks for free help, hand them the flyer for the upcoming workshop.

For example, I get lots of requests from local people wanting to start nonprofits. (Many times they are hoping I can get them some of that magical “grant money” they’ve heard about.) I created a list of links to non-profit startup resources that I can share with them. I keep it in Evernote, so I can paste it in emails or refer to it during phone calls. It gives these new non-profits some help, and it lets me get on with the business at hand.

Key point: Keep the focus on education, not selling. Let your great information do the talking in this case.

The bonus to this technique is that you don’t have to turn non-paying clients away empty handed. You can give them some assistance, without giving away your sanity at the same time.

Becky McCray is a small business owner from rural Oklahoma. She recently developed a toolkit with more instruction on how to draw the line between free and paid, with six steps to draw the line, worksheets to complete and a short audio demonstration.  She runs a liquor store and cattle ranch, and she does consulting with small town governments on special projects. She and Sheila Scarborough co-founded Tourism Currents to help tourism professionals learn to market more effectively online. She also publishes the popular blog, Small Biz Survival, about small town business.

         

Tune in to this: 5 Effective Ways To Deliver Dynamic Presentations

Question: Raise your hand if you’ve ever drifted off in your own thoughts during a boring, monotonous presentation at work. (Note: All hands should be raised.) At join.me, we know that even the best free screen-sharing tool needs powerful and inventive presentations behind it to succeed. That’s why we partnered up with Dux Raymond Sy, PMP to put on a webcast this Friday, February 18 at 2 pm EST.

If you’re not familiar with Dux, he’s a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with over 15 years of experience in Information Technology and Project Management. He’ll be sharing his insight with us on Friday on to deliver dynamic, effective presentations from prepping the presentation into a coherent story and using interactive techniques to keep your audience involved.

join.me is also giving away two iPod touches to two lucky attendees.

Register for this free webcast, and we’ll see you on Friday.