Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Viva Voce Conferencing via Adobe Meeting Pro

Last night I had the pleasure of joining a viva voce (live voice) theological conference sponsored by Athanatos Christian Ministries. How did I learn about this opportunity? Social media. How did I participate? Social media. How might your pro-life organization benefit? Social media.

Connected by LinkedIn
While checking my LinkedIn account last night, I found a status update from Anthony Horvath, the director of Athanatos Christian Ministries (ACM), announcing a live debate between an atheist and a Christian ... starting in just 10 minutes. I followed the hyperlink, and it took me to ACM’s Adobe Meeting Pro site.

Conferencing on Adobe Meeting Pro
The online conference environment included a list of participants, with a speaker icon displaying by the name of whoever was talking. Meanwhile, any participant could type a comment in the chat box. This allowed us to “whisper” real-time reactions, carrying on, as it were, two conversations in parallel. Sometimes the speaker chatted, too, for example, to paste a URL for an online reference to his presentation. The host also showed a brief video clip.

A Bible Study on Skype
A few months ago, I participated in an online Bible study via Skype. The Adobe program has more features than Skype, but Skype sufficed for an Arizona pastor, several of his parishioners, a visitor in Colorado, and me‒a guest presenter in Minnesota‒to discuss natural law ethics and the relationship between science and religion.

Technology has great potential to bring people together for rich discussions. Although I appreciate face-to-face communication, I would rather maintain the face-to-face with my children, whom I tucked into bed shortly before joining the Athanatos online conference, than travel out of town for the conference, and have to say goodnight to my children via telephone ... or Skype.

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