When it’s not magical

One of my favourite technology quote is attributed to Arthur C. Clarke

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

When things go well, it really does seem like that at times. I just finished the This Week in Ontario Edublogs show on voicEd Radio. It’s a leap of faith that happens every Wednesday morning. I sit at my desk, talking into a microphone, listen to Stephen Hurley and we chat about five wonderful blog posts from Ontario Educators.

We have faith that there might be people listening to us live on air or, if they aren’t available, the show is available as a podcast later in the day to be downloaded and listened that way.

It really is faith when you think about it. I just have faith that it works; I have faith that Stephen is able to make things happen in the background; I have faith that my technology will work; I have faith that my internet access and his will provide continuous strong connections. I do hedge my bets by having the blog posts that inspire out conversations open in separate tabs and our collaborative document open.

We typically log into the conversation room 15 minutes in advance of the show for a sound check and a quick chat. When the clock hits 8:45, we go live.

Live is something that Stephen suggested we do when we put the show together. Unlike a podcast recording that can be done offline and edited before it’s available to others, we are open with our comments and ever slip of the tongue is caught. It makes for a blooper connection like the time I was singing/humming along to a Strawbs song.

Yesterday, this happened…

As it turns out, the ball had been dropped somewhere along the line! I was sitting there, still talking, but as Peter notes “until Doug left!”

The reality is that I hadn’t left; I was just talking to myself. I happened to glance over at the Zencastr display and noticed that Stephen had flat lined and I continued to talk. As every high school teacher will have heard a million times from students…

I didn’t do nothing”

Remotely, Stephen then kicked me out of the room and I had to log back in and the conversation continued and we finished the show. Apparently, Stephen will be able to edit the two pieces together for those that download and listen to it later. It will be on the voicEd Radio websitel here. https://voiced.ca/project/this-week-in-ontario-edublogs/

The magic failed us.

My apologies to Amy Bowker whose blog we were talking about at the time.

3 thoughts on “When it’s not magical

  1. Good morning, Doug!

    What you experienced is simply the miracle of live radio, and that’s what makes it so much more exciting than a recorded podcast. I remember in the early days listening to education podcasts and being quite disinterested because they were over-produced and scripted. When #ds106radio came along, the excitement of “live” brought a new energy – turning the live broadcast into something recorded and available later was always possible, but the fact that it was generated live was what made it work. The performance that you give in a “one take” situation is very different from what you do when things can be re-recorded and edited and all polished up. Plus, when you’re doing a broadcast live, you have the opportunity to engage with the audience in real time – – anything that is pre-recorded and then replayed subsequently loses that opportunity for connection and enter play with the audience. Broadcasting live made all the difference for my students when we were doing #105theHive — Connecting with other educators and having their students listen in gave us a real, immediate audience — toss in some tweets from that audience and suddenly the local performers are amazed.

    In the #ds106radio community, there is an expression — “futzing“ — which refers to going on the radio live and trying things out and finding out what works, and learning from your mistakes, and it’s all expected and accepted in the community as part of what everyone does as they learn and share within that space.

    Stephen runs a really tight radio ship, but as you’ve indicated, there are multiple variables at play, and despite the best preparation and best intentions, all it takes is one of those things to act up, and you can have an interruption. It doesn’t happen to Stephen often, and it doesn’t happen to the CBC often, either – – but it does happen to the CBC, and that’s OK. The same goes for you guys.


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