Wednesday, 29 April 2020

12 top tips for delivering CPD over Video Conference

Gallery view : Open discussion with the subject leaders

On Monday 27th April, Harlow Education Consortium (HEC) invited me to deliver their primary school science subject leader network meeting using video conferencing.
I obviously jumped at the opportunity because I knew I had access to one of the best video conference platforms to enable me to do this.
Normally termly meetings with the subject leaders are held (face to face) in one of the most idyllic training venues I've been to, a barn at Netteswellbury Farm converted into the study centre overlooking a church yard. I would have up to six to eight subject leaders attend from local schools. 
However, the meeting I held over video conference on Monday morning had 17 attendees from Harlow, Redbridge, Hertfordshire, Essex and much further afield. Teachers all in their homes joining with their laptops, ipads and two teachers were using their mobile phones.  

My meeting started at 9.15am and ended at 12pm. It felt a little strange to start with, not something I had ever envisaged I would be doing.  Firstly, it was 9am and I was seated at home and not battling the traffic on the M25 on my way to Harlow worried about arriving late. Secondly, my teachers were appearing on my laptop screen, one at a time, and as each teacher connected from home  and I saw their faces appear on the screen and their audio connect, I greeted them individually as I would normally face to face (except I knew their names because it appeared alongside their videos).  There were no real technical glitches. The technology ran really well throughout the whole session. One teacher had audio issues, due to her laptop not connecting to her microphone ( but that did not hinder her from taking part ) She just needed to log out and log back in to fix the issue. 

The teacher feedback at the end of the video conference was very positive. One teacher sent feedback to HEC stating,‘ I absolutely loved the course. I got lots from it and thought the delivery was brilliant.’

Speaker view: Dr Carol Davenport,  NUSTEM

I would, therefore, like to share:
12 quick and easy tips to delivering a successful Continuing Professional Development (CPD) session over video conference. 

1) Send or share any hand outs you want teachers to review and look at during the training beforehand.
2) Allow teachers to enter the meeting 15 minutes before the start. So you can say hello to them and ask them to mute / unmute their mic and ask them to go grab some coffee/tea while you wait for others to join. 
3) Have a register ready with all the teachers names.  
4) Ask teachers to name themselves clearly on the screen with their first name and surname so you can recognise them ( if not you can rename them yourself).
5) If running a 3 hour session.  Take a 15 - 20 minute break after the first half. Ask teachers to mute mics and switch off their video.
6) During the second half, invite a guest speaker (I had invited Dr Davenport, from Northumbria University to talk about her research).  Allow the presenter to be a co-host.
7) Use the chat function to allow teachers to post questions as you present. Then answer them at the end.
8) Take time to speak to the teachers,unmute them individually, ask them to share good practice. Depending on time, allow open discussion. Or use break out rooms for group discussion. 
9) Allow teachers to share their screens to show websites and resources they use.
10) Use the polls to find out what the teachers already know at the start and then repeat the poll to find out what they learnt at the end. 
11) Use the mute all function when you are presenting - then unmute one at a time for discussion. 
12) Use different views. Speaker view (with spotlight) when presenting.  Gallery view when having an open discussion. 

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