Saturday, October 20, 2007

Immersion -- Week 8

I love fuchsia -- can we get more fuchsia in this?

So the Immersion team recently spent some time talking to the "tools" experts within T/TAC - these are the folks that use some of the collaborative tolls I spoke of in a previous post. They use Adobe Connect, Polycom, and sometimes very sophisticated video conferencing equipment to communicate across the state. We also met with the client again to discuss his high level vision of the virtual collaboration/conferencing center. And while this ambitious goal is very attractive to those (like me) who want to explore the capabilities of such technologies, when pressed to determine who else we could talk to (a.k.a. the audience), the client told us to follow up with T/TAC staff in the client's region - when this virtual collaboration center is supposed to be designed with all T/TAC staff in mind - that is T/TAC staff across the entire state of Virginia. Anecdotal evidence indicate that audience members in other T/TAC regions do not have access to these nifty communication tools as do the folks in Region 4, nor do they have the support to operate these tools.

So what are we doing here? The client likes the color fuchsia, so we are going to give him more fuchsia? There is this nagging thought that our focus did not truly match the needs of our audience. As we struggled with determining the scope of our audience, we met with another stakeholder outside of Region 4. While this stakeholder probably would have preferred that we tackle another priority from our Performance Analysis, she warmed to the idea of developing and piloting the virtual collaboration center. Why? She reminded us that the initial concept of T/TAC Online was only embraced by a few people - and it has taken six years to become established as the main resource for public school staff on issues related to students with special needs. She believes that using a key group of opinion leaders to diffuse the idea of the virtual collaboration center to other T/TAC staff would work. We discussed asking one of the T/TAC Priority Project teams that embraces technology to be our "guinea pigs" during the design process. And besides - let's get real here - we only have until mid-May to work on this project. This is where we need to make a realistic decision and move forward knowing that we thoroughly considered all of our options.

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