Saba Centra (www.centra.com) is an online learning environment that can be used for virtual classroom learning, for meetings or for web seminars (also known as webinars). Be sure to click on the “view demo” link on the home page to see what Saba Centra can offer. Saba Centra is used by a wide variety of educational institutions and businesses, including Cingular Wireless, Sony Electronics and the Harvard Medical School. In the Ontario literacy community, Saba Centra is hosted by Contact North (www.contactnorth.ca) and supported by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
Saba Centra's online classroom includes many interactive features including two-way audio, an interactive whiteboard, application sharing, text messaging, user feedback, breakout rooms, surveys, evaluations, web surfing and more. Instructors and facilitators planning an online session can prepare the learning content using PowerPoint which can then be imported into the live session. Alternatively, an additional tool called Agenda Builder can be used to convert the PowerPoint slides into a Centra-compatible format with any of the interactive features built right into the presentation. Centra sessions can also be recorded for later review and playback. Click on the “Saba Centra product overview” link on the home page for more information.
To see a demonstration of how Saba Centra can be used for teaching literacy, be sure to watch this presentation by The Centres for Employment and Learning of Avon Maitland District School Board in south-western Ontario: www.learninghub.ca/centra_demo/centra_demo.swf.
A free 30-day trial is available from a link on the home page. Ongoing licensing fees vary depending on the number of users. For more information, contact Saba using the “request information” form or by telephone at 1-877-722-2101.
Technology in Action
A number of Ontario literacy organizations have used Centra extensively over the past few years. For example, Community Literacy of Ontario (www.nald.ca/clo) has delivered numerous professional development workshops on Centra. Workshops on Performance Management, Essential Skills and Marketing have been archived and can be viewed by going to: www.e-channel-login.ca and clicking on “public recordings”.
Another good example of how Saba Centra can be used for literacy instruction is the Good Learning Anywhere program offered by the Sault Hudson Literacy Council in Northern Ontario. You can learn about this at: www.siouxhudsonliteracy.com/.