Educational Technology Blog
Your organisation might be implementing videoconferencing for the first time as the wave of home working spreads during 2020, or you might need to speak to your clients that you’d usually meet face-to-face.
Use the following tips to make the experience as easy as possible!
Prepare in advance
Set up your cables in advance to make sure that Jess the cat didn’t bite through your only connection before the conference. Sign in before, checking your microphone and camera before starting.
Make sure that you’re charged up before you start, or that you have at least enough juice for your 1–2–1 with your boss so you don’t look like you hung up on them.
As the host make doubly sure about settings and sign in procedures.
You need to have your full concentration on the video conference you are taking part in. It goes without saying, don’t do anything else at the same time. Please.
Your preparation should include technical components:
Ever set up a FaceTime meeting to only discover that Dave from Maths doesn’t have an Apple phone?
Larger organisations have rules on which technology that is in use (Microsoft Teams is a corporate favourite).
Recently many journalists have been broadcasting from home, and a few took the opportunity to promote themselves in the process.
Now this might not apply to Jenny from French, but you might just notice that people carefully place a copy of “Thus Spake Zarathustra” on the bookshelf behind them (YouTubers; we know that you’re doing that as well).
You know what does work? A simple plain background (no, your kitchen is not a good idea either). You must have a plain wall for that 30 minute catch-up meeting, and if you don’t just try to use a door.
Look. I just don’t want to be distracted by your bookshelf that you think will impress me. I’ll start thinking about why you think that particular book might impress me, but I’m directly impressed.
Dress to impress
This includes being a miserable person (old you can’t do anything about), particularly if you are trying to persuade people of something. Have no doubt about it, you are trying to impress upon people your confidence and competence in your job. Make sure that your dress and your attitude matches the image that you wish to project onto your audience, unless of course you wish to be fired for any particular reason (if you’re at home already you might be ready for a stretch of unemployment?).
Make sure you’ve a decent connection
There are ways to make sure that your conference is not a stuttering mess. Use your broadband home connection for the videoconference and if it isn’t of good enough quality switch to your mobile sim connection.
You’re checking this beforehand right? You should be.
If you don’t have a great connection turn your video off. It’s less annoying for everyone than both seeing and hearing a stuttering mess. You might be like that anyway, but certainly don’t let your technology contribute to poor communication.
Watch your body language
Like an face-to-face meeting you need to watch how you look. I know your face might fall back into a gormless expression, but everyone knows how to switch this to an interested facial expression.
Not only that, you need to sit up straight, and perhaps strike a pose into one of the High Power body language seated poses.
Another important piece of advice is that you need to smile. People smile when they are happy and when they greet other people. People like you when you smile.
You’re at work, you want people to like you and surely you like the people you work with?
Show it. If you don’t, fake it until you make it. Your career prospects will thank you.
Working with colleagues should be fun. Meeting your colleagues should be fun, and you should work with your colleagues to produce excellent work!
Video calls are a part of teamwork, and should be there to help you to work together in the best way possible.
You want to increase your productivity and create the best possible environment for everyone to work in.
Follow the tips above and you will be closer to a fantastic working environment, even if you are working at home!
We keep being asked what are the usual software requirements for using the Studeapps lesson plans and resources.
If any customers are missing these pieces of software, please do contact me and I’ll help you out.
Some means of reading pdf files (generally avaliable on PCs, Laptops, Tablets and Phones with existing software)
The ability to open Image files (generally all modern devices can do this)
Microsoft Word (or Pages, Office Libre) to read lesson plans
We know that feedback is important, and a fairly recent study (https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2013.855718) has broken down feedback into a series of student conceptualisations that can guide the way that we think about feedback and how we might change the way feedback can be delivered to our students.
Feedback as telling
Feedback can be equated with information transference. At times a student needs to be told that they are doing something wrong (or, indeed right). The students involved in the study referred to this passive form of feedback, this students experienced this method of feedback as in the present time with reference to the immediate task at hand and often with tests and assignments.
This style of feedback can be thought of traditional feedback, and is of the style of feedback that teachers often need to have (that hideous term); evidenced.
Feedback as guiding
Rather than simply telling students what to do, through feedback they can be guided in the right direction. Although there is also a perception of there being a single right way of completing a task which may restrict creativity and deep thought from students. However, since the feedback is by nature guiding there is encouragement for students to think about how they can apply the advice in their future work.
Within the study it was noted that there is opportunity for extending the learning environment beyond the classroom with this type of feedback.
Feedback as a means of developing understanding
Creating exploratory feedback and guiding students about what is wrong as well as the fact that it is wrong has clear advantages from a student perspective.
This is a basis for giving students information about What Went Well, and What to do next.
Feedback to offer different perspectives
Student feedback can be grounded in information from the real world rather than restricted to the school context. My suggesting how students can improve their work using these different perspectives, there is an opportunity for students to enhance their whole world view.
This moves students away from simply having a fixed perspective, and allows them to develop in ways that they might not be able to think possible.
It should be noted that the concepts were drawn from an undergraduate group of students, and they may not be directly applicable to your context.
However, students have varying perspectives on the application of feedback. This is probably coloured by their experiences of the education system (although all students in the study are undergraduate students suggesting they are able enough to go to university), and the teachers who have taught them.
We should think more about feedback, and are we able to give students the assistance they deserve to improve their work and really get to where they should be with the help of the feedback they are given.
As the results make us reflect upon the completion of a cycle, and the beginning of a new one it is a good opportunity to reflect on the opportunities a new school year brings.
As many of the Twitterati are attempting to use the platform less, I’m finding on the whole a productive way to gain some time towards CPD and think about how my practice might improve through the ideas of others.
To boost the prospects students that need extra support, or perhaps need to be stretched further differentiation regularly crosses my mind. As a result, the products published by StudeApps will focus on providing differentiated lesson plans and resources to assist teachers in providing the best quality lessons possible.
As we begin to update our App portfolio for 2019-2020, accessibility will become a focus for the same reasons. The New Computing GCSE App has a host of great content for students, and we will work to provide a great experience for all who use the platform.
Not to forget, I hope all of your students have had a successful set of results!
Onwards and upwards!
Hexception has now been released on the App store for Apple devices.
A simple way to help students understand the relationship between Hex number and colours.
Free forever on the App store, no adverts.
A quick post about how the UK government have used and abused the software methodology of Agile. Something similar has happened in education…