Inbit for 15 Users Only (Try Spark)

June 19, 2009 § 2 Comments

This weeks testing of Inbit went well. Users liked the idea of IM and it was put to good use. That is until the 16th user was restricted. Inbit is not bad at all and at $180 fairly priced but a little more than, Spark.

Spark is an Open Source, cross-platform IM client, with Openfire the cross-platform real-time collaboration server based on the XMPP (Jabber) protocol – the same stuff that powers Gtalk (I believe). ‘Combined with the Openfire server, Spark is the easiest and best alternative to using un-secure public IM networks.’ Next we week will either confirm or refute that. After the success of Inbit with just a few key personal, tells me that IM will work for schools. The more staff on board, the more powerful influential it could be.

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IM Not 100% Convinced

June 16, 2009 § Leave a comment

I have been using Twitter for well over two years now and I get so much back from my network, thank you everyone, so quickly and will real richness. However at Hamble, I find that our communication systems; briefing, telephone, drop box / pigeon hole (2), noticeboards, meetings, memos and email (new to education – text) although valuable they can be very time expensive or resource hungry.

In particular I want to talk about our over use / reliance on email as a communication tool. In my professional experience, external communications are dominated by email, and more than ever, so are internal communications. To the extent that emails are almost over whelming – and in my opinion frequently overused.  The send to all, all Yr7, Yr8, Yr9 etc features simply leads to the over use and generalisations of email. (Please smile to yourself or nod knowingly if you have received an email looking for lost _________ sent to all staff).

Many emails are fired off and then sit dormant in the recipients inbox for an undetermined period of time, with response rates variable. Are there better ways to communicate internally within a school? To date, our Sims manager leaves requests for staff via email as they were not responding to her Sims alerts (Sims alerts require staff to regularly access their home page and this was simply not the users protocol) and  today she expressed her frustration with both communication methods! She expressed the need for something more urgent.

So today I contacted  Yammer (A Twitter like client) for advice and to see if there was a model we could adopt and develop within an education setting. In the mean time we investigated IM (Instant Messaging) over our network – rather than over the internet as communications were seen as a professional and internal rather than for external communications, afterall we have email for that.

Let me introduce,Inbit Messenger Basic Edition 1.4, a LAN Messenger product from inbit.com. This messaging software does more than just IM, allowing you to, create groups,  share files, images, screenshots and then some, allowing administrators remote control and logging. It even provides features to send asynchronous messages and deliver files to offline colleagues and record IM conversations. Both client and server are included in the download and we had it up and running in about 15 mintues and although we only tested Inbit with 3 staff,  we were impressed. Next step – introduce it to the Sims attendance manager and our pilot group of staff. IM not 100% convinced but if it reduces my emails and everyone elses, improves the attendance data and generally moves things along more smoothly, then great.

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