By Susana Guardado
I don’t know about you, but the little hopeful part of me really thought that we would be back to delivering face to face courses by now. However it seems like we will be staying in the virtual zone for a bit longer.
Turns out that as much as I miss face to face, I am learning there are creative ways to build safe and fun online learning environments. Thought I would share one activity that while quite simple, I find people respond to really well and in fact often comment on. When I teach a RentSmart course I use it during the introduction activity.
The set up:
Prepare a slide with enough blank squares (using the Insert Shapes tool) and people figures for your participants. I like to make each square a different colour.
Share your screen with your PowerPoint on the screen, but do not start the slide show. You can shrink the side bar so the other slides are barely visible. This allows you to edit the slide show LIVE – you will see why this is important
Ask the usual question.
When people start to answer, ask them what colour they would like and start to type in a summary of their answer in the chosen colour. Go around the circle until everyone that would like to participate has answered. (Yes, this means people will see you typing live, and then you can make jokes about spelling, because spelling mistakes will occur because we are all human )
You now have everybody PRESENT in the room, and everyone’s voices are heard and validated by you typing their answers in the slide. I always include my name and my own answers as well. I was surprised how this added engagement and interest and set the tone for the rest of the session.
One thing I miss about face to face sessions is the ability to go around the room and have participants answer a discussion question in the order they are seated in. In Zoom or other video calls everybody’s screen is different so everyone is in a different order. So now I will bring up this slide again and we use the slide as the “seating chart” so we know what order the virtual circle will go in.
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