I have had the opportunity now to participate in some of the other on line events as part of our mini conference. I must admit that I was very fortunate that technology was on my side, although I did favour using elluminate which we had been using through the course for some of our group “get togethers” (although the first time for me facilitating in elluminate).
Reflection on the event:
I decided for my event to facilitate a session on elluminate, I wanted to trial this medium as I can see benefits of using this online tool within my own teaching practice in the future.
I marketed my event via the FOC09 wiki page, as well as emailing my colleagues in the School of Applied Business, Otago Polytechnic and also through an internal message board at Otago Polytechnic and via a link through my blog. I was quite pleased with the number of attendees, although in hindsight more could have been done to promote the mini conference itself (through wider networks) as there were a lot of very varied and interesting topics.
My presenter (and colleague) Hillary Jenkins gave a 10 minute presentation on the use of wikis in education using the Diploma in Applied Travel and Tourism course as her example. This was then followed by a question session. As part of the presentation there was a link to the appropriate website, however, I failed to let people know that they would have to manipulate the website; this could not be controlled by the facilitator! Although people did not comment on this at the time, it may have been a little confusing and a point that I should certainly make mention of in future presentations. The use of wikis and collaboration had been one of our learning topics through the course and I have an interest in finding ways that people would collaborate with this online tool.
I think some of the key issues that I have learnt from my own event and from attending other FOC09 events was the preparation required, the ability to “think on your feet” and to be confident enough to “take charge"!
I wanted my event to be a facilitated session rather than a lesson/lecture style session, so the short presentation (to hopefully stimulate questions) followed by questions, seemed to work well.
As a facilitator in elluminate you do have to watch for both the ‘chat’ questions as well as people wanting to ask questions via audio. The participants did seem to engage with the presenter and there was some good discussion at the end.
So what have I learnt from my facilitation, you need to be prepared for all eventualities, there is skill and the need to multi task. When you are the facilitator, you have to let the presenter/teacher do their thing and let the participants engage. The role of facilitator is not to control, but to guide the event.
So here’s to my next facilitated event!