Raising Awareness

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Using Networked Applications at Events

Using Networked Applications At Events

Increasingly WiFi networks are available in lecture theatres [1]. With greater ownership of laptops, PDAs, etc. we can expect conference delegates to make use of the networks. There is a danger that this could lead to possible misuse (e.g. accessing inappropriate resources; reading email instead of listening; etc.) This document describes ways in which a proactive approach can be taken in order to exploit enhance learning at events. The information in this document can also be applied to lectures aimed at students.

Design Of PowerPoint Slides

Title slide showing AUP, tag, etc.A simple technique when PowerPoint slides are used is to make the slides available on the Web and embed hypertext links in the slides (as illustrated). This allows delegates to follow links which may be of interest.

Providing access to PowerPoint slides can also enhance the accessibility of the slides (e.g. visually impaired delegates can zoom in on areas of interest).

Making slides available on Slideshare can also help to maximise access to the slides by allowing the slides to be embedded in Web pages, blogs, etc.

Using Bookmarking Tools

Social bookmarking tools such as can be used to record details of resources mentioned. An illustration of this is shown in the above image in which the ili2006 tag is used to bookmark the resources described in the presentation.

Realtime Discussion Facilities

Providing discussion facilities such as Twitter can enable groups in the lecture theatre to discuss topics of interest [2].

Support For Remote Users

VoIP (Voice over IP) software (such as Skype) and related audio and video-conferencing tools can be used to allow remote speakers to participate in a conference [3] and also to allow delegates to listen to talks without being physically present.

Using Blogs And Wikis

Delegates can make use of blogs to take notes: This is being increasingly used at conferences, especially those with a technical focus, such as IWMW 2006 [4]. Note that blogs are normally used by individuals. In order to allow several blogs related to the same event to be brought together it is advisable to make use of an agreed tag.

Unlike blogs, wikis are normally used in a collaborative way. They may be suitable for use by small groups at a conference (e.g. for not-taking in breakout sessions).


Although WiFi networks can provide benefits there are several challenges to be addressed in order to ensure that the technologies do not act as a barrier to learning.

User Needs
Although successful at technology-focussed events, the benefits may not apply more widely. There is a need to be appreciative of the event environment and culture. There may also be a need to provide training in use of the technologies.
Consider whether an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) should be provided.
Performance Issues, Security, etc.
There is a need to estimate the bandwidth requirements, etc. in order to ensure that the technical infrastructure can support the demands of the event. There will also be a need to address security issues (e.g. use of firewalls; physical security of laptops, etc.).
Equal Opportunities
If not all delegates will possess a networked device, care should be taken to ensure that delegates without such access are not disenfranchised.


  1. Using Networked Technologies To Support Conferences, B. Kelly et al, EUNIS 2005, <>
  2. Using Twitter at Events, Cultural heritage briefing page no. 56, UKOLN, <>
  3. Interacting With Users, Remote In Time And Space, L. Phipps, SOLSTICE 2006, <>
  4. Workshop Blogs, IWMW 2006, UKOLN, <>
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