I love my PLN. I discover so many new things every day. Today’s find is via Richard Byrne’s Free Tech 4 Teachers blog.
Big Blue Button is a video conferencing platform similar to Adobe Connect, Elluminate, or dimdim. It does all the regulars like text chat, voice and video sharing, PDF and PowerPoint viewing, and even screen sharing. The interface is very clean and easy to use. The big draw to Big Blue Button for me is it open source and free to download.
When I say you can download it, that means it isn’t a hosted solution. You need to install it one your computers/servers. The good news is it is easy to install. I was surprised at just how easy it was for such a complex piece of software. Usually something like this requires lots of configuring and tweeking before you can get started with it. The developers have done a great job of making it easy to get started.
I installed it on Ubuntu 9.04 that was running on VirtualBox and I followed the very clear instructions available on the website. It is as simple as 6 steps. Open the Terminal and type each command.
- wget http://archive.bigbluebutton.org/bigbluebutton.asc
- sudo apt-key add bigbluebutton.asc
- echo “deb http://archive.bigbluebutton.org/ bigbluebutton main” | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/bigbluebutton.list
- sudo apt-get update
- sudo apt-get install bigbluebutton
- You will be prompted to add a password to MySQL
Total install time was just over 8 minutes. That is pretty impressive.
That’s it. Open up a web browser and hit your computers IP address and you will see the home page. Just enter your name into the demo room and you should be good to go.
I want to spend a bit more time with it and see what it can do after a bit more configuring and customization. I would love to find a way to launch a room directly from Moodle. After about 5 minutes of play it is very intuitive and just works. Certainly easy enough for teachers looking for a way to present online. BBB has their own demo server if you want to see it in action. They also have some great tutorial videos to get you started. I will keep you updated on my results. Thanks again to Richard for the great find.