Thanks for your interest and encouragement - sorry you probably will not be able to join us this time (but First Thursdays happen every month so there should be more opportunities). I appreciate the suggestions and I hope that we will gradually move up to using our etherpads in the way you suggest .
I am taking your first suggestions as the outline for our first level of introduction to etherpads
"EtherPad's secret power is that it supports true collaborative writing in the big space!
The right-hand space is like a chat track. Here is an example of what you can do in the big left space:
yes, put your agenda of topics into it, with some of what we used to
call carriage returns when we actually used typewriters with 'carriages'
to carry all the keys that printed the letters on the page! :-)
So, you start talking about the first topic, and
you get an idea! So someone writes it down under its topic on the left
big space. And I, an editor, see a typo, and I go in and correct it! "
I will try to help everyone to feel comfortable and confident using those first aspects of etherpads - then I hope we will gradually work down your list until we are competent with all that you have shared with us.
Of course we will also be using the etherpad to run our meetings (so building the skills will be a gradual process going hand in hand with using it).
We have the some structure now for our skill building - but you may need to be patient with us as we gradually build our skills (remember that we cannot speak to each other with voice as we work and for most people who come to First Thursday English is not their preferred language.