TeachMeetNZ running a session

Currently I am learning with Julie Lindsay on Global Educator sessions. Julie is a global educator whose work I had admired from a far for a few years before I had the opportunity of joining a face to face session with her last year in Hawaii. This year I am learning more about running a global project by undertaking the Flat Connections Global  Educator sessions. This blog post is about aligning the work I already do with TeachMeetNZ and reflecting using the readings and discussion from the course to make the online sessions even better.
Recently I read Core education 10 trends and was interested to note that they have highlighted global connectedness as one of the important 10 trends in education.  


Sometimes I am asked how do I run a session for TeachmeetNZ?


Before the session
I put a call out to people who have made contact with me previously who have shown an interest in presenting. Sometimes it is through connections I have made on #edchatnz and sometimes I might have picked up a blog post via the twitter breadcrumbs. By the time I have finished a live session the next session is usually already booked. Because our TeachMeetNZ has an NZ focus I generally run sessions for New Zealand educators. When have the team I build a page for the session on the TeachMeet wiki because I have already learnt the importance of leaving breadcrumbs so that bystanders know what happened. Once I build that page I call for communication details.


Communication and building connections.  
How do we communicate on TeachMeetNZ? The fastest way is via twitter so stay up to date via the hashtag #TeachMeetNZ. I also send out emails to the group via google mail so do check that too. The bulk of communication takes place  a fortnight before the live session.  It is usually a great idea to use the communication details to find each other on twitter, on google plus, on facebook and any other social media spaces that you know.


Handshake to build connections
A handshake allows the group to bond and the session to be a success. I have already learnt that I need to spend a bit more time on the handshake in order to allow the participants an opportunity to build connections with each other. Over time I have learnt that three tutorials are ideal before we go live. My modification is to give the presenters an opportunity to share what has been happening in their week at each tutorial. I have learnt that sharing highlights from the week is an  important part of building connections.


SOLO taxonomy
Using Solo Taxonomy I can step out the tutorials and reflect on where they are placed and what I still need to do to create depth in the learning.  
Multistructural Thinking is using the the tools such as the hangout, twitter, google+, GAFE for consuming. Therefore teachers are learning how to use the tool and the emphasis is on the tools.
Relational thinking is about making connections so one way is by making social connections with the other delegates they are presenting with using the same tools. They also use relational thinking when putting their slides together. Therefore teachers are making connections both with each other and with their learning.
Extended abstract thinking is when teachers are contributing to an educational resource by creating presentation slides and through an edited video. Presenters usually complete the process by writing a blog post about their experience and add to this process of learning through reflection. Therefore teachers are creating a resource and sharing their learning via a blog reflection.


First tutorial session is a Beta test
This first tutorial is like a Beta Test and is really for newbies or educators who want a refresher. This allows equipment to be tested. Using the #Flatconnect digital citizenship concept, this first tutorial is about technological awareness. A Google Hangout does change regularly. Some problems usually identified in the first practise include needing to update systems and is there any technical feedback. Do our microphones and cameras work?  Sometimes, we need to restart the machine after computer updates.
We learn how to activate the toolbox and add our name to the session. We activate the chat box and discuss its importance for communication.  We learn about positioning ourselves with the camera by checking the distance of our face to the camera. Some people sit too close as can be seen from the recordings. Remember when speaking to look at the camera not at the hangout delegates who reside at the bottom of the screen.
Do rewind the recording as this highlights any distractions that are around. A classic example is the washing hanging behind. When we go live remind the household what is happening so that loud music, pets are outside and requests are kept to a minimum.  During this session participants will have located their page on the wiki and have added contact links.
We discuss appropriateness of our space and remember the following
  1. privacy of other people like speaking positively of our institution and our colleagues.
  2. use appropriate language just like we would in a staff meeting.
  3. remind family members that the sessions are live so they do not choose this time to walk behind on their way to have a shower 🙂
All artefacts are created for ease of sharing so a reminder about copyright including what is on the presentation slides.
Each educator controls how much they are willing to share. If they are speaking about their institution do let the school leaders know.


Second tutorial session is the slides test
By this session, participants will have downloaded the template slides to their computers, or created and online copy using Google presentation. I will know the title of their slides. They will know who is in the current session with them. They will have some idea about  the topics being covered. They will have rebroadcasted tweets and ideally sent some out too regarding the current session. Participants will have alerted colleagues in their institution and invited everyone and anyone to watch the live session. On twitter they will be watching the #TeachMeetNZ Hashtag for updates and will know the order of presentation as this will have been tweeted out. Slides can still be in draft form and this tutorial demonstrates how the slides are embedded into their TeachMeetNZ page. The participants TeachMeetNZ page is their social awareness page. This allows them to add all their contact details so that other participants can identify who they are working with. Participants will have bookmarked this page for ease of access.  This second session is also a question and answer session and an opportunity to problems solve any issues that have eventuated. Sometimes I have needed to take photos here too in case presenters cannot make the final session.


Third session is the dress rehearsal, final photos and disruptive peer feedback.
This session allows timing to be checked. During this session a photo is captured for each presenters page. This is a backup session too in case there are problems during the actual event. As each presenter shares, others in the hangout gives feedback and suggestions. These include clarity of the slides, lighting of the presenter and usually involves some questions about the presentation. A reminder that all sessions are recorded to rewind for learning. This tutorial allows cultural awareness to happen because participants learn about each other, from each other and with each other.


Live session
20 minutes before the session the room is activated and the call put out.
Presenters should arrive 15 minutes before session to test microphone, set up their name and check that their presentations is up on the tabs. The live streamed session highlights global awareness as participants realise that their presentation is viewed by a greater audience than just New Zealand.


Afterwards
After the live TeachMeetNZ session I add the presenters to the main google+ list of everyone who has taken part. Their  video is added to the Youtube archive channel. The clip is for the presenter to do with as they like. For example the video can be embed directly into a portfolio. I suggest that they share the love by adding a link back to the TeachMeetNZ site. Over time I can see the sessions as a triangulation of learning. Each tutorial begins with a recap about what has been happening during the week as this allows connections to be made.


Hints
Participants can come in blind for the final practise, however I do not recommend this as it shows in the final recording.
Educators who attend tutorial sessions always have a smoother recording. If an extra practise is needed then I have past presenters who are always willing to support because they want to have a go at leading their own hangouts and therefore look for opportunities to practise too. In addition presenters can practise with each other.
One of my goals is about building connections so if a chat with me personally regarding their presentation is required then book a separate time via twitter direct message. I will make time when other delegates have dropped out of the hangout. All tutorial sessions are recorded for rewindable learning. These can be seen on the main channel if you go and search for them. I usually tag them to just whoever is in the session for our learning.


General questions
Yes you can present using any media, But keep it to 3 mins.
Prezi can be used and even really short video clips. If a video clip is used then add a new tab with the video instead of embedded in the slides because the sound is not clear when recorded from an embedded slide. If using prezi allow time for transition. Keep the slides simple with images. Not too much text.


Recommendations
After the session put slides into slideshare as this allows the tracking of number of views received. Remember to claim a badge, embed it with a direct link back to their page. Tag me on twitter if a reflections is written. Do give feedback as this is an important for quality improvement.
To be online and learning online is not the same as being tech savvy. #TeachMeetNZ  is about contributing, collaborating and being visible. “Come out and be part of the construction.” says Julie Lindsay. Contribution skills are not intuitive they must be taught. Take advantage of a social based learning with the blogs, videos and the presentations. As an educator If we are only consuming then we will be left behind, if we are creating and contributing and conversing then we are succeeding.


Where to next
As each tutorial is run prepared slides are needed because the recording does not show what I am doing. Reading a tweet is not enough, participants are reminded to alert me that they are receiving by starring what I tweet. As I prepare for the combined Aussie and kiwi session I am alerted to the fact that I have not given a choice for meetings. Maybe I should have used timebridge to establish meetings. These are ideas for me to think about for next time when I run combined sessions with other countries.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s