ProtoCommunications is a project that started as a way to address two significant problems with the study of speech and debate: first, the role that technology plays in education, and second, the perpetual increasing cost of instructional content. We discovered that, while technology offers new and exciting ways to produce and distribute high quality instructional content at less cost to students, there have not been enough solutions designed around the unique complexity of student interaction in speech and debate courses. Our current solution is to use Google products to create as rich an experience as possible in an online environment. This means, that as a student, you will need to register for a Google, or Gmail account. If you already have an account, you should use it for this class. If you do not have an account, or don’t want to use your personal account for this class, then please create one by following the instructions in the video at the bottom of the page.

The rest of this lesson explains the 4 main reasons behind the choice to use Google products.

They’re free

While the choice to use Google is not exactly free to ProtoCommunications as a business, an account is free to you, the student. Needless to say, this is a really important factor when developing tools that reduce the cost to students.

Sharing video speeches

As a performance based communication class, several different assignments require student recorded video for professor assessment. YouTube is a product of Google, and by creating a GMAIL account, a student will simultaneously create a YouTube account. Once logged in, users can upload personally recorded videos to complete such assignments. YouTube also offers live events, allowing for real-time video conferences between multiple users. Furthermore, live events enables students to meet and record themselves discussing topics, giving speeches, and interfacing with the instructor.  


A GMAIL account gives a student access to Google Drive, which comes with 15G of storage space and numerous useful applications. This first application worth noting is Google Docs; a free, online, word processing application which can allow students to work on the same document at the same time from remote locations. Second, Google Sheets, is a spreadsheet application similar to Excel, or Numbers. Third, Google Forms is a powerful application that easily facilitates the collection of data from students. It is particularly useful for surveys. 

Life Skills

DebateSensei is dedicated to building students’ technological competence. All of the above products build skills that are likely to benefit students outside an educational environment. The word processing application, Docs, is overwhelmingly similar to Microsoft Word, and Apple Pages. Communicating using video technology is becoming a vital skill. Students today are more likely than ever to be interviewed using video, or find a job that requires them to perform in front of a camera.

(This is one of the few videos that you can fast forward if you wish)