There were five key takeaways that Paul Signorelli shared throughout last week’s chapter meeting on Blended/Hybrid Learning Environments. Perhaps to nobody’s surprise, our hybrid event about engaging participants in hybrid events quickly became a case study that applied all of them.
We rehearsed how best to utilize GoToTraining to share webcam video, slide decks, and Google Docs. We practiced implementing our activities, sussing out the quirks of our platforms, and identifying the system features to highlight.
What we did not directly test? Room audio. A lesson learned here: get in the room with all your equipment during “normal business hours,” so the person with the expertise to trouble-shoot the gap between your equipment and the venue’s resources is available. Even when we arrived two hours before the event in an attempt to get everything up and running, we ran into trouble in this one area.
The hotel staff was mystified -- they had just held a meeting in the same room in which twelve microphones worked fine. But for our meeting, the house speakers would not work at all, effectively separating us from our facilitator as he sat patiently in San Francisco, mugging for the webcam, chatting with our four other online participants.
Our “Plan B” was to have me facilitate the session using our virtual facilitator’s notes. In my opinion, this would have been a far cry from the passion that Paul Signorelli brings to subject matter, so I pressed on.
I believe it was Seneca who said: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Minutes before the program was scheduled to begin, we got lucky.
A stray comment reminded me that I had a bluetooth speaker in my car. I had already signed onto the GoToTraining session with my mobile phone out of habit. If I were to connect that phone to my bluetooth speaker…
It was simple enough to work.
Our Learning Event boasted two activities which apply Google Docs to engage both online and in-class learners working on the same content. The first activity, which involved creating a letter one word at a time, was more frustrating than engaging. I’d like to try it again, using smaller groups in breakout rooms, to see how that would operate.
The second activity worked a bit better -- we’d given the learners a document in which each participant could claim a space to type their views on the document, and then go back and review and augment the comments made by other individuals. You can see the results here.
There were a few other lessons learned, but these were the big ones:
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