Monday, 13 February 2012

Connecting Online 2012 - A Missed Connection

Abruzzo Under Snow!!
Sadly I was not able to attend my own webinar presentation for Connecting Online 2012 due to unforeseen circumstances, namely the terrible weather that hit the Abruzzo area the day before. I had been very excited indeed about presenting and I wrote about it in this post here.

A very big apology to Dr Nellie Deutsch and all the attendees who came to my session on Teaching Idioms with Web 2.0 Tools. I had recorded my Powerpoint presentation to send to Dr Nellie in case I encountered problems with the weather, but unfortunately we got cut off before I could send it.

I made a very big effort to get to an Internet point to do my webinar, but the odds were against me. Mother Nature, in fact.

This is my story below.

A huge amount of snow fell overnight in our area of Abruzzo, and I woke up to this view:

The situation was about to get even worse. Our phone and Internet connection went down and mobile phone reception was poor to non-existent, due to the severity of the weather. I decided we had to try to get to our neighbours, who hopefully would have a connection for me to deliver my webinar at 2pm. So we started walking up our road (over one kilometre long), which was just a mass of deep snow. Karl very kindly carried my laptop on his back.

I got stuck many times as the snow level was very high!

At this stage, I was hopeful that it was just us without connection, so I was hoping that our neighbours would be able to save the day.

While we struggled to make our way along the snow-covered road, I tried to ring my sister on my mobile phone to get her to contact Dr Nellie to let her know about my difficulties. Sadly, that message didn't reach its destination.

As you can see, I was dressed suitably for the arctic conditions. I wore my motorbike waterproof leggings and jacket, and Russian-style hat to keep me warm.

When we eventaully got to our neighbour's house after one and a half hours of walking through quite treacherous and dangerous conditions, we found out to my huge disappointment, that they too were cut off!!! No phone line and no Internet connection. This was so upsetting, because I had really hoped that I would be able to deliver my session, especially after having gone through all that struggle up the road. It was not meant to be.

I would like to thank Dr Nellie for valiantly holding the session together with 39 attendees from around the world. I take my hat off to her!! She conducted the session, despite her presenter (me)not showing up, in an amazingly calm and professional manner. I will observe and learn from her and this will be a role model for me. This is definitely something positive, which has come out of the negative. I think she did a brilliant job, coping with the situation. Thank you once again!!!

I have viewed the video, and it is an excellent example of how to remain calm and deal with an unforeseen situation. Thank you for holding the fort, Dr Nellie. Kudos to you.

JanetAbruzzo Unplugged!
To while away the days while we were cut off from the outside world, I created a series of podcasts, called JanetAbruzzo Unplugged, using Audacity. You don't need the Internet to record audio, so that was great. All I had to do next was upload the mp3 file from Audacity to Podbean or Podomatic for me to be able to publish the posts on my blog, which is what I have done now whilst in England.

How I got to England whilst being snowbound, is another story, and one which I will post in my Project 366 blog. This blog stopped abruptly due to the snow and Internet disruption, on Day 33:The Big Freeze is Looming.

Below the image is my Episode One: Dash Through the Snow, on Podomatic. You may need to turn up the volume, as I am still a newbie regarding recording with Audacity, and I am still feeling my way around this new tool.

Our road on 12th February after more snowstorms had hit our area. Karl has been without connection with the outside world for 10 days. Thank goodness he was able to ring me today and the Internet and phone line is finally back up!!!

Thanks very much to Marco, a local farmer and neighbour, who had cleared some of the snow from the road before this picture was taken.

The terrible weather has caused over ten million Euros of damage in the Abruzzo area alone, according to Il Centro, the local Pescara newspaper. The last time it was so bad was in 1956, before I was born.

You can view a video and more pictures from Abruzzo in the Snow here.


Mike Church said...

Hi Janet

re. Loneliness of the Long-Distance Teacher

How frustrating! Great photos, anyway, and every cloud has a silver lining: you taught yourself how to use Audacity in the meantime! (Yes, volume is a bit low, see if you can tweak it a little, but it was lovely to hear your voice, anyway).

Take care

Mike x

PS. Thanks for kind comments over on Ken's blog.

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Mike

Thanks a lot for popping by and for your tip re Audacity. I had actually learned about Audacity from my fab EVO Podcasting course.

As I wasn't able to keep up with the session for 5 days due to lack of Internet, I was really pleased that I could practise using it to create 4 podcasts in this JanetAbruzzo Unplugged series. So, yes, indeed, something good did come out of the situation!!

Warm wishes

Janet :-))

PS About the low volume, I'm going to make sure that future podcasts are louder.