How Romance Scammers Port Video Files Over Skype

I’ve had many victims of ‪#‎romancescams‬ (where scammers used my photos) ask me how it was possible that they saw “me” over Skype. From these conversations, I’ve discovered that the scammers used a technique to port video over Skype to further fake someone’s identity. This appearance over video was often reported by victims as the convincing moment where they felt that they were talking a real person (vs. the fabricated identity). I’ve created a short screencast to explain how this works. Please share – it may save someone from falling into one of these scams. Thanks.

Student Work – Winter 2012

As I’ve done previously (see 2009, 2010 and 2011), I wanted to share some of the best examples of student work from my ECMP 355 (Technology in Education) undergraduate course. These students are all preservice teachers and they range from being in the first to the fourth (final) year of our program. If you have any questions about the work featured here, please comment below or email me. I hope that you will find these projects valuable.

Final Projects: The goal of these projects varied – essentially, they were either of the ‘build a learning resource’ or ‘learn something of significance using the Internet’ variety.

Blogfolios: Students were tasked to create blogfolios in the class as a means to strengthen their digital identities, and experience an important form of alternative assessment.
Summaries of Learning: These summaries of learning are typically a 3-5 minutes reflection/presentation/celebration of what students learned throughout the course.

Using Twitter Well (With Tweetdeck)

Jesse Newhart has put together a good, 8 minute overview of how he effectively follows a high number (15,000+) of people on Twitter using Tweetdeck. I use many of the same strategies for following a lesser number on Twitter (2000+), and if you do follow a significant number of people, these ‘tricks’ are useful if not essential.

And while I am writing this, I just noticed that Brian Crosby has asked “why would you want to follow 15,000 people?”. I think the video may itself help to answer this important question as Newhart does explain each strategy in context (e.g., looking for links, helping to answer people’s questions, noticing popular trends among followers). While I do not follow that many, I know that I do benefit from following more people than I can regularly engage.

200 Years That Change the World (Hans Rosling)

In this video, Hans Rosling demonstrates GapMinder, a tool for “unveiling the beauty of statistics”. The content for the brief video is the change in the life expectancy & income throughout the world in the last two centuries. Gapminder looks like a really neat tool, and the trends described through the tool are interesting.

If you would like to play with the simulation used in this video, go to If you want to see more of Hans Rosling, check out his TED Talk.


Flowgram is a nice tool that I think many educators would find useful. Flowgram allows you to take webpages, photos, or PowerPoint presentations, put them into a linear sequence and add audio narration and notes. The result is somewhat like a screencast. It is free, does not require a download, and Flowgrams are embeddable in your blog, or can be shared in other ways (e.g., Facebook, Delicious, etc.)

Abhay Parekh, founder of the company, created a Flowgram to demonstrate the capabilities of the tool. Click on the image below:

Flowgram may be useful to yourself, or students. I can think of a number of educational applications.


As mentioned previously, I have been using Ustream and Camtwist to mediate my Wednesday night sessions of EC&I 831. In combination with Skype conferencing, you can perform many of the useful functions of the very pricy Elluminate.

What you can do:
– Deliver video and audio via webcam (or other video camera).
– Broadcast timed or manual slideshows.
– Broadcast video files and Flickr sets.
– Broadcast your entire desktop or select pieces.
– Use IRC chat.

What’s missing?:
– Higher quality video broadcasts, web tours, and larger resolution presentations.
– Hands-up features or ways to identify who will communicate next.
– Built-in, “real” screencasting.
– Privacy/password protection.
– Ease of setup for instructors.

We have been using Elluminate on Tuesdays and the Ustream solution on Wednesdays. Elluminate is a stable, dependable tool. However, seeing that many free tools are now available which do many of the things that Ustream can, Elluminate will eventually need to change their pricing structure. To me, their licensing costs are simply outrageous.

The solution I have mentioned is not for everyone. I do not expect everyone to take to it as easily and with as much enthusiasm as I have. However, for those eager to try/learning something new, webcasting with these tools is a lot of fun. Let me know if you need any advice setting it up.

Also, I have put together a short screencast to show you the tools in action. Take a look.