Make It Interactive! Engaging But Not Overwhelming! Using Other People As Your Eyes And Ears!

Make It Interactive! Engaging But Not Overwhelming! Using Other People As Your Eyes And Ears!

Today I did my Video in E-learning” for e-Tips n Tools for the 2007 Australian E-learning Networks using a virtual classroom (Elluminate) with +60 participants from Australia, Canada and Chile.

The guidelines for the session were make it interactive, hands on and designed for people new to use of video. I decided to go all out with this session into unchartered waters –by setting up a Ning community (etools and Tips for Educators) for use during the presentation (here are the reasons why!).

Well I survived the session and hopefully so did most the participants. If you want to check out what an interactive session with +60 participants looks like here are the links:

  1. Handout on using video in elearning (7 pages of “how to” informati0n)
  2. Link for the Elluminate recording



Now I have to focus on Friday’s presentation (this Friday!) on why we should be using social networking with our students [image from NSW Learnscope].

Been doing a lot of thinking! Once again I will be using a virtual classroom but this time it will be Abode Connect and most of the participants will be in a conference room — I will not be able to see them and only a few will be able to chat with me.

So here is what I am thinking — they desire that absolute best I can give them! So it has to be:

  • Interactive
  • Engaging
  • Not overwhelming as many of the participants are new to the concept of social networking

But I will be using other people as my eyes and eyes (lets hope they have Eagles eyes and can hear like a dog)!

So I have come up with some ideas of how to make it interactive, and would love to hear from you if you have seen a virtual presenter handle a large audience that they can’t see or hear.

Here are some of my ideas but not sure of the how (any suggestions welcome!)

  • Would like to get them to answer a few multiple choice questions – could we give each table pieces of different coloured card that they could hold up? And then my eyes can tell me the approximate answers?
  • Would like each table to write some questions down — should I get my eyes and ears to run and grab these answers? And then what? Quickly read a few or post them into the chat area?

And if you were going to talk about social networking and why educators should use it for their personal learning and with their students what would you talk about? — being mindful you don’t want to overwhelm them!

13 thoughts on “Make It Interactive! Engaging But Not Overwhelming! Using Other People As Your Eyes And Ears!

  1. I think your ideas with the cards are good. i think you need to show them how many networks already exist between them – in a visual way… even that they’re from the same organisation… etc…

  2. How? Tricky!
    Sue, your video tools session today worked well… partly because audio and polling tools were tested before the session. Newbies had a play beforehand and got used to the strange new way of talking and listening. Could you run through your communication method either before or at the start of the session? It will be vital that your method is as finely tuned as possible (picture in my mind: Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian” crowd scene: “He’s just a naughty boy!”)

    Social networks build community of practice among learners and educators (removing barriers) encourage digital literacy (interaction between learners) and engage teachers in Web 2.0 technology

  3. Hi Sue–I just started running a program with high school seniors (17-18 year olds) on social entrepreneurship using Ning. The kids are LOVING it. They immediately got excited about being able to personalize their pages, etc. and have been busily uploading photos and so forth. They’ve also started some good discussions in the forum section on some pretty substantive subjects (racism and Iraq).

    One thing that I’m realizing is how rich a learning opportunity this is offering. I’ll give you an example. They’re uploading photos that don’t necessarily present them in the best light professionally. They aren’t bad–they just aren’t professional. I’ve set it up so that I approve any photo or video before it goes up, so I have all of them in a holding pattern for now. What we’re going to do is start a discussion on how to decide what photos should go on the site–how do they want to present themselves. The beauty is that because we’re using Ning, I can invite business people from the community to weigh in on these conversations and offer their own perspectives. This just wouldn’t be possible if we weren’t using Ning.

    In the US, a lot of schools say they want to involve the community in education, but when people have to go to a school, it just doesn’t work. With social media tools, though, it’s a lot easier to engage people in the process because they can sit at their desk and comment, etc. without having to plan a trip to the location.

    It’s very exciting and I think offers so much more opportunity than we’ve had in the past.

    Good luck with your session–I know you’ll be great!

  4. Hi Sue, you did a terrific session yesterday and it is not 60+, it is 70++.
    Suggestion, ask your participants first – worked for me when I was discussing how to embed video (screen capture using Camtasia) in their elearning practice. Some questions: what is the purpose? who are you targetting? is it a supplement or the only learning resource (differing levels of work and planning say for an intro/spiel against a setp by step video on how to fish)? where will you publish it (CD, internet, intranet)? how can viewers interact with the video or the content (discussion boards, follow up emails, comment boxes, journals, annotations)? can new videos be added to the series? what resource do I have to capture video? how much time do I want to spend on video production? how much time do my students need to spend on watching and analysing the video?…
    Of course, if there is no response, give them the answer from your experience and perspective. You would probably need to agree or disagree with some of the answers too… in a ‘nice’ way.
    Hope that helps.

  5. Hey there, I was really impressed with your video session in Elluminate on Wed. (my connection was a bit slow) However what I observed was an engaged audience, a participatory group, and an innovative set of group dynamics.

    Its always a brave thing to do to ask what the participants hope to get out a session and then to ensure that there is the WIFM for everyone. Well done on your strategies.

    You certainly did ‘go all out with this one’ – I loved the Ning site and will be considering as a repository for my digital stories, among other things. So you did provide an answer for my request – thanks for that.

    Good luck for the Friday event and relax with it – slow pace is good sometimes and then provide some faster pacing. Vary your voice, show them the passion and keep up the good work.

    Cheers from Coach Carole

  6. Alex – I think I might have forgotten the advice about taking some breath maybe that is why I now have a sore throat?

    Harriet – we ended up going with Bob the builder voting – hands on heads etc Have a look at the photo ( ) looks like fun. It really helped that they were taking photos during the session.

    Simon – what can I say? Just that I can not tell you how much I appreciate all the help and advice you have given for both presentations. Thanks so much for working with me to fine tune these presentations. Anytime, anywhere — in my books that means I owe you.

    Michele — thanks for telling me about how you are using Ning. I have been telling others how well it has been working and how you used it with these students. What can I say? Well I survived the sessions. More importantly there are individuals in the etools community that are trying to teach themselves new skills — which is fantastic because my wish of it being more than just a 1 hr presentation has been achieved.

    Michael – well Jyothi says that it was 61 LOL… either way that is a massive number of people to manage in an virtual classroom session.

    Carole – thanks for your feedback. Yes –I decided to go out with both the sessions but in different ways. Long term the video in elearning will have more impact because it is living beyond the presentation and making an impact on some people. Not sure if I will ever feel comfortable using virtual classrooms — but that happens.


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