Sue Waters Blog

Overview of Connected Trainer Workshop From Converge08

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This post is a quick overview of The Connected Trainer workshop (45 mins) that I presented with Simon Brown at Converge08. Since the participants were shown an overwhelming number of online tools throughout the conference we decided it was better for them to reflect on they could become more connected.

Survey of Workshop Participants

Before the workshop we tried to survey how connected participants attending our session were so we could design the session to better suit their needs. Unfortunately people choose which sessions to attend on the actual day of the conference which made the task hard. However we did get 15 responses to our survey.

The image below shows the number of responses to use of each tool. Please note : Basic meant they had heard of the tool but had minimal experience using; Average meant had used the tool and have reasonable ability; and Advanced meant they had their own site that they regularly update.

Image of survey results

So instead we ended up quickly surveying the participants at the beginning of the session using a shortened version of the survey and writing their response on the Powerpoint. Majority had minimal experience to no knowledge of using blogs, wikis, podcasts, photosharing, feed readers, personalised start pages, microblogging tools and social bookmarking tools. However there were also some very experienced users within the workshop.

With both surveys it was interesting to see the limited exposure to some of the more handy tools such as Google Documents, Slideshare and Personalised home pages.

Getting Participants To Reflect On Their Connectedness

Instead of doing a workshop where we did all the talking we decided to engage them in conversation by using Flipcharts. I’d had seen Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach use Flipcharts effectively at a workshop.

The idea was for them to work in groups to consider the issues and challenges facing them plus work out the actions they needed to take to become more connected. For those already connected we asked them to consider ways of helping others within their organisation become more connected.

Unfortunately we hadn’t factored into account that the room would be a sloping Theatrette with fabric on the side walls that restricted the area where the flipcharts could be used. While it did work room layout made it harder.

Image of room

As groups they rotated through the Flipcharts answering the following questions:

  1. Question 1: What are the barriers that are stopping you from connecting now?
  2. Question 2: How would you connect if you didn’t have any barriers? What would your choices be?
  3. Question 3: How will you find the answers to learn how to become more connected?
  4. Question 4: What are three action that you will take as a result of attending this conference to become more connected?

Image of Flipchart

Below are photos of their responses on the Flipcharts:


After the groups wrote their responses on the Flipcharts we got a person to read out the answers on each Flipchart and then we all discussed the responses. Both Simon and I also learnt about tools neither of us had heard of which was excellent.

Its been good to see that people at the conference, as well as people within my personal learning network, are using my PLN Yourself website and are increasing their connections to other educators.

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Author: Sue Waters

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

4 Comments

  1. Hi Sue, thanks for updating about this session – I learned a lot about presenting by sharing the floor with you. I am now more confident about trying different approaches to presentations using the techniques you’ve described here.

    • Thanks for doing this session with me Simon. I really appreciated working with you. It was a shame time was short and the room wasn’t suited.

      Glad it has made you think about the different ways you can make sessions more interactive.

  2. Glad to see a strategy I used re-purposed. Wish I had been there learning with you.

    • It definitely was an good strategy and I was pleased to learn it from your workshop. I found it good because the poor people had 2 days of sitting listening to people talk which eventually wears them out. So I was pleased to come up with questions that worked for our training sector.

      Only issues I had was room was totally wrong for this activity and key note presenter went over which impacted on time available.

      I did add an extra twist – I bought lots of freddo frogs (80 of them) (chocolates) and used them as bribery to get them up and moving.

      Good news is that they are using my PLN website so people are making an effort to become more connected.

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