Blab is a fairly new tool, still in Beta, that has immense potential in classrooms, or does it? That’s what we wanted to explore using the Blab platform.
Creating a Blab
You need to have a Twitter or Facebook account in order to use Blab. It is available on iOS and desktop, but as of yet there is not an android version. Below you will find an overview of how to create a Blab on a desktop or laptop.
Once you create an account, starting a blab is as easy as clicking a link:
You do have the option to make your blab unlisted or public. If it is unlisted, only those with the link may view and/or participate. If it is public, anyone in the world can join, though the host controls who speaks and may remove anyone who is inappropriate.
The platform itself is set up for four main speakers, with the potential for speakers to move fluidly from an active role (featured via webcam in one of the quadrants), to a less prominent role (chat capability only). The participant just needs to click on the “Open Seat” at which time the moderator may give the participant to move into the main frame.
The interface indicates the people logged onto the blab at the top, a Live Chat feature on the right side, and the main video frames in the centre.
The blab may be recorded by the moderator who simply clicks a red “record” button on the left side of the interface . You may also pause and resume the recording, which is a great feature.
Throughout the blab participants are prompted to tweet, and every participant is able to give a speaker “props” (hands on bottom right of speaker) if they agree with something said.
Best of all, the Blab can be downloaded as an audio (podcast) or video.
Using Blab in the Classroom
In the following Blab, Andrew Campbell, Fran Siracusa, & Jennifer Casa-Todd explored the tool in terms of its affordances and limitations in the classroom using a Fears, Cheers, and Unclears structure.
Check it out in its native blab environment here.
30 second summary
Blab is an easy to use interface with very few glitches which is nicely set up for debates and local or global connections, but many considerations including privacy, student agency, and etiquette, are required before moving forward with Blab in the classroom.
What if something negative happens?
If you have a public blab, you may find that anyone can pop in which can be extremely disconcerting. You will notice that “Carlo” who briefly joined our blab and was subsequently removed had no business being there. It is important that if you use Blab in the classroom (or any live streaming app for that matter), that you have an action plan. This can range from making sure that any parties online drown out any negative comments, that the moderator eject and/or blocks the user, and someone be in charge of taking screenshots. It would be important for the teacher to engage in a think-aloud explaining what they are doing.
Check out this post by Shaelyn and Steve Anderson called, 10 Student Centered ways to use Blab.
Follow Blab on Twitter for support and ideas.
Here is a link that talks about how to use it to grow your Business.