This meeting focused on leading a Video Reflection online. We wanted to make the point that reflecting on your practice and problem solving together can continue to be done online. So, don’t stop those habits and routines. You are merely shifting them online. Catherine & I have been doing this for several years now with museum educators and university faculty.
Here is the slide deck we used for the meeting.
Authentic, Certainty, and Autonomy
In this meeting, we pushed out the Google slide deck to all participants at the start so that participants can follow along. All the necessary links are already embedded into the slide deck. For those who are in our Canvas course, we asked them to enter the course and access the same materials and links from the course.
- This instructional choice is in contrast to Meeting 1 when I shared my screen and then entered necessary links in the chat box. Those who participated in both meetings can compare the difference on how it felt as a learner. In Meeting 2, learners had more control.
- If you give learners control, constrain the context and guide them.
- Constrain the context. (1) In Google Slides, share the link “Any one with this link can view.” This option means you don’t have to send them an invitation to access; plus they don’t need to be logged in or have a Google account in order to participate. Making it view only keeps people from accidentally deleting or adding things to your slides. You can always turn off the share setting after the meeting. If you’re using Canvas, the context is already constrained because they are students and cannot edit the pages. (2) Keep pages unpublished or slides elsewhere until you need to use them. For instance, in Ice Cubes, we don’t want people to jump to Video 2 before we are done with Video 1. Most people will stay with you, but some will be clicking ahead. That’s okay; even in-person, sometimes our mind wanders. Just don’t give them access to details until you’re ready. So, in Canvas, keep the page unpublished. When you’re ready, publish and ask everyone to refresh their browser. In Google Slides, copy from your Staging Slide deck and paste into your Teaching Slide deck. Since it’s Google, the new slide will appear like “magic” for everyone.
- Guide them. Your slides are numbered, so let them know when to advance to the next slide (or next page in Canvas). Do a verbal check — is everyone looking at …. There will be a few people lost, and so either direct them in the whole group (or second instructor private chats with them to get them where they need to be). Usually at the beginning, it’s fine to give guidance with the whole group present because, likely, others are lost or unclear but didn’t speak up.
- These solutions are grounded in the following areas of work that we explore in Reflecting on Practice.
- Foundational Idea on Learning — Learning that is authentic to the learner leads to deeper understanding. Remember, the experience will be more memorable to the learner if it is meaningful and relevant to them. As the educator, you don’t know what’s meaningful to them — only they can do that for themselves. What you can do is make opportunities for them to make it relevant. Giving them control means they can surreptitiously look ahead, see where you’re going, see where and how the content might be relevant to them. This enables them to prepare their frame of mind for the new learning that is happening.
- Domain of Social Human Interactions — An ability to make accurate predictions about what will happen next based on previous experiences and patterns (Certainty) and the feeling of having control or influenced over the events in their life (Autonomy). Giving learners control can lower the threat response in these two social domains. Going online for their lessons is disorienting enough.
- These strategies to share slide deck or teach from Canvas does not work for every situation. We came up with them for programs and courses. Your teaching context is different. So, come up with your own strategy for your teaching situation based on the ideas on learning and human social interactions that you learn from Reflecting on Practice.
Social, Belonging, & Presence
We started the meeting with a Caring Community routine. I’ve been borrowing and modifying questions from this blog. You likely already do this when you teach in-person, e.g., start in a community circle, have a turn & talk. For this meeting, we had people enter 2-3 words in the chat box that captured their state of heart and mind at this moment. We also used a poll in Zoom to gather their “personal weather status for the day.”
- I explained briefly about chat box in the post for Meeting 1. Learners are always encouraged and welcomed to use the chat box at their leisure. When we direct them to enter text, we usually try to limit it to “2-3 words” or “a brief statement” so that no one’s entry dominates. If everyone is writing in the chat box simultaneously, there is a lot of text to read through quickly. If I’m a slow reader, I can’t keep up. Making it brief, to “capture the heart” or “2 words for the key concept” enables everyone to contribute quickly and hopefully make the experience a little more equitably. As the educator, you can read the comments out loud, invite the person to elaborate on their entry, or ask volunteers to comment on someone’s entry.
- For the polls, in Meeting 1, I used an extension to Google Slide. In Meeting 2, I used the poll in Zoom.
- Meeting 1 used an extension (Slides Poll) that relies on Google Forms and the charts that can be created from Google Sheets to collect the poll data and display on your slide. That extension requires having access to your Google account to automatically link all the files, and then your poll results appear “magically” in your slide deck. For privacy reasons, I use a separate Google account I designate for teaching to use with extensions and services that require access to my files. There are other services out there, like Slido and PollEverywhere that have staggered pricing; the free versions have limits that might be sufficient for what you need. I went with this one because it’s free and didn’t require another account. This Slides Poll extension that I used has the vote link and the poll results all on one slide so that the votes results can update as the slide is displayed. In Meeting 1, we wanted people to report out on two questions so I placed both vote links on Slide 1 and then poll results on two subsequent Slides 2 and 3.
- Meeting 2 used the poll feature built into Zoom. Here are the instructions I followed to create my polls. I made the polls before the meeting and then pushed them out when I needed them. I made two polls. The first one had 2 questions and the second had 1 question. I made the poll anonymous, and was able to see number of people completing the poll so I know if they needed more time. And then I was able to share the poll results with everyone immediately.
- Our teaching purpose for the first question was Caring Community. Our teaching purpose for the remaining questions was to “check for understanding.” Question 2 in the first poll asked who has accepted the Canvas invitation, and the second poll asked who has experience with Video Reflection. Those poll results gave us a sense of the participants’ prior knowledge.
- Make time for these social connections online. They help to bring people’s state of mind into the meeting—we’re all barely keeping up and our minds might still be in the previous conversation when we arrive into our next meeting. Also, when we’re physically apart, we need ways to cultivate the relationships among members in the community. The conversations can get deeper when learners know the people in the online meeting and know they are cared for by the people in the meeting. We are still humans, and humans are social organisms. These points are grounded in the following areas of work that we explore in Reflecting on Practice.
- Foundational Ideas on Learning — Learning occurs in complex social environments, which in turn, shape how our brain organizes the information and responds to future experiences. While our mode of interaction is online, it doesn’t mean the way we interact has to be one-way delivery.
- Domain of Social Human Interactions — The feeling of safety and connectedness with others; feeling like you belong. This domain will be critical to keep in mind for Video Reflections. Presenters are not going to feel safe to receive feedback if they do not feel like they belong. Peers will not give feedback with care and compassion if they do not feel like they belong.
Solving Problems Together
Video Reflections, using our suite of Reflective Practice Tools, are completely doable online. We should keep up this habit and practice. It’s easier now since you can easily record because you’re teaching online. Since everything is new, you likely have lots of questions and stuck points in your practice to explore. Everyone does, so let’s get going.
- Make a presenter page. It’s easier to guide everyone through the protocol while online if you have a Presenter Page. It’s basically the Reflection Protocol with the presenter’s details already embedded. Like we did in Meeting 2, share it with them view only or in Canvas so they can have it in front of them. To make the page, there is a TEMPLATE page in Canvas; this version is downloadable. Collect the presenter information before the meeting and insert the information and color it another color so the text stands out. Alternatively, share the edit setting with the presenter for them to enter and revise their details for Step 2.
- Web cam, on/off. For our online classes, we insist that everyone has their webcam on for the whole meeting. Since our lessons are so interactive, we want to be able to see each other when we talk. I recognize, in this current situation, there might be access issues to consider, so use your discretion. For Video Reflections, the web cam is incredibly crucial in Step 8 when the group discusses their observations and gives feedback. When you get here, really push on peers to turn on their webcam AND the presenter turns off their webcam. As a member of the community, we should see each other when we’re offering feedback. For the presenter, we want to give them space to react and respond. Just like when we’re in-person, the presenter sits outside of the conversation circle. The presenter would move behind us, out of the circle. When we’re online, just have them turn off their video feed.
- Video files. The presenter owns the video of their practice, and shares it with the community to view for feedback. The presenter uploads the video to their own cloud storage space (like Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, or whatever), and then shares the video:
- Option 1. Presenter sends Guide the link to the video to be added to the Presenter Page (use the Anyone with this link can view option; turn off the share setting after the meeting). With this option, everyone clicks on the link to watch on their own in Steps 3 & 5. Make sure everyone is on mute, and send them off to do Steps 3-5 on their own and then reconvene for Step 6. Since everyone is watching on their own, when I get to the second watch on my device, I announce to everyone they should be at second watch as well. We typically use this option in our online classes, again for autonomy for the peers. Some people like to pause and rewatch segments of the clip if they missed something, or skip ahead or back just a bit to orient themselves to the clip. Of course, this option risks people being at different places of watching, like if someone paused too long or had technical difficulties.
- Option 2. Presenter sends Guide the link to the video, and Guide shares screen with group for the watch in Steps 3 and 5. We used this option during Meeting 2. Since we didn’t know who was going to be attending and we were using the Google doc, we didn’t want to make the video so publicly available. To do this, have the video ready in its own window and share only that window. Select “Share computer sound” so that the audio is patched through with the video feed.
- Option 3. Presenter shares screen with the group for watch Steps 3 and 5. Follow the same instructions for sharing as Option 2. This option requires the host to allow participants to share their screen, which you have to do in Settings when you log in from the web (not your Zoom platform) and done prior to the meeting. Given the recent concerns for Zoom-bombings happening, we are being advised to limit screen sharing to the host so that intruders do not disrupt your meeting with offensive material. If you have other security settings selected already (like password and authentication), you might be all right to allow participants to share their screens.
You’re in control
The platforms and services featured here happen to be ones that are available to us from UC Berkeley. We learned to make them work for us. There are other options.
Remember, the ideas on learning and your teaching practice should be your guide for how to use the technology that is accessible to you. Don’t let the technology drive your practice. You’re in control.