DO ONE: Preparation & Scripting
Do One - Preparation & Scripting
- Case videos
- Preparation materials
- Practical checklist
- Read and reflect on how to prepare and script online dialogues
- Explore interactive content
- Watch case videos on online dialogues
- Reflect on the checklist for doing online dialogues and what needs to be practically prepared for before, during and after doing an online dialogue
- Reflection points on the preparation and scripting of online dialogues
- Learning how online dialogues could look in action - and also how they should not look
- Familiarising yourself with the practicalities and technical aspects of having an online dialogue
- Understanding key aspects of scripting, to the degree that you are ready to script your own online dialogue
An exemplary video - Future Trends Forum
The video below exemplifies some of the elements that you have learned about in the See One module. The video is a future trends forum video with Rikke Toft Nørgård as guest speaker, hosted by Bryan Alexander. This section will discuss some of the relevant elements to prepare you for what to look out for in the video.
Bryan Alexander -The next university, with Rikke Toft Nørgård
Looking at the way Bryan Alexander practices playful online dialogues both in relation to the invited guest speaker - Rikke Toft Nørgård - as well as the other participants in the online dialogue we see how many of the dimensions touched upon on the See One unit comes into action:
Connecting with experts
Bryan Alexander finds passionate individuals within the educational field to interview in his sessions. “Each week a different guest – an inspiring expert, visionary, practitioner, or researcher – converses about their area of interest.”
Bring the world into your classroom
In this situation, Bryan Alexander has connected with Rikke Toft Nårgørd. One is in America, and the other in Denmark. If you look at his youtube channel(LINK) you’ll discover that he connects with people from across the world and with different functions in education.
“Guests have ranged from deans to librarians, startup founders to journalists, leading technologists and technology critics. They are associated with entities like the United States Department of Education, Google, the University of Cambridge, and the Digital Public Library of America”
Collaborate with other schools and teams
By connecting with the such a range of individuals, Bryan Alexander collaborates with others in different topics. “Topics have covered a wide range, such as: open education, financing education, blockchain and other emerging technologies, institutional transformation, testing and assessment, students hosting their own web content, connections between K-12 and post-secondary schooling, and the Internet of Everything, to name a few.”
Allowing recording and revisiting collaborative efforts
“Every week’s Forum enters our free and accessible archive. We record each event, then upload it to YouTube. Every recording is available here, for your free viewing, listening, commenting, linking, and embedded pleasure.”
Facilitating the learning dialogue – flow and focus
At the start of the online dialogue, Bryan Alexander refreshes the participants on the set up and coordinates expectations of the session. From Dialogical pedagogy: “Hosting and facilitating the dialogue is about creating the proper tone and atmosphere, and later to keep the flow and rhythm intact, while also strengthening the focus and inner momentum of the dialogue”
Questions and exploration
In the video, you’ll notice that many of the questions posed are open ended and up for interpretation. There are some more closed ended questions, but they are not closed enough that Rikke Nårgørd simply answers with yes or no answers. “Discussion is the name of the game, as we avoid PowerPoint and encourage the entire audience to actively engage.”
Active listening and silences
Bryan Alexander is listening with his whole body. Notice how he’ll nod or smile when he feels that an important point is being made, however you do not see him express the opposite - that he disagrees with the guest Rikke. To compare this video to teaching, consider the guest Rikke as the expert in her field, and Bryan Alexander as the facilitator. Bryan Alexander and the other participants in the session are “students” learning from the expert.
Bryan Alexander does an excellent job of building bridges and relating the different questions to each other. He also coordinated expectations at the beginning of the session. Take note of how he phrases questions and how he keeps the dialogue flowing.
Relational and emotional intelligence
Bryan Alexander used phrases such as “I love this idea of” and “I’m sorry”. He also makes supporting sounds indicating that he is still there, he is listening and that he isn’t disagreeing (hmm)
Level of openness
In the see one, we discussed different set-ups of openness in the pedagogical sense. This future trends forum is a very open set up. As Bryan Alexander explains it: “I kick off the discussion with a question or two, then facilitate further questions and comments generated by participants via chat, video, and Twitter. “
Overall, Bryan Alexanders Future Trends Forum is one way of planning, setting up and carrying out playful online dialogues. Off course, this way of getting a community of learners engaged in thinking about the future of education through dialogue takes careful planning, preparation, scripting and a lot of experience. Below you will find some preparation guidelines and practical checklists that will help you to start thinking about how to carefully plan and successfully carry out your own playful online dialogue.
(All quotes, if not otherwise specified are from Bryan Alexanders webpage where you can read more about the future trends forum)
The following image hotspot provides general ideas of how to prepare yourself for a successful online dialogue. The image hotspot accounts for online dialogues with and without guests. Some of the things described can be conceived as common sense, however they are important factors that facilitate a smooth online dialogue with your students. Please explore the image hotspots below.
To have a playful online dialogue that is experimenting, explorative, improvisational, playful and all the other traits we covered in the See One unit - and that you find in Bryan Alexander's Future Trends Forum dialogue - is however not the same as just jumping in at the deep end and start talking. Playful online dialogues require just as much careful planning, pedagogical reflection and instructional intent as carrying out more traditional teaching and learning formats. Where more traditional teaching formats might be focused on the delivery of content, the careful crafting of worked-through teacher manuscripts or the mangement of one-to-many teaching situations, dialogic formats might require more attention to the formulation of dialogical aims to reach through a reflective pedagogical set-up, the careful preparation of a set-up that supports and promotes dialogue and the scripting of a dialogic pedagogical process through which an online dialogue can unfold in meaningful and valuable ways.
However, before a carefully prepared set-up and nicely scripted process for playful online dialogue can even unfold, a range of more practical and technological concerns must be taken care of. Or else the teaching or learning situation might end up with being of a more chaotic, distressing or disrupting nature where technological, practical and pedagogical barriers or issues ends up destroying the possibility for a deep learning dialogue. Below we have tried to perform one such example of an unfulfilling, unscripted, underprepared online meet-up that ends up being a rather un-playful and non-dialogic experience.
Considering the above performance of the 'Playful Online Dialogue gone wrong' in the video it might be helpful to get some knowledge and a checklist for these more practical and technological dimensions that need to be considered before doing an online dialogue. In the last part of this section, you therefore get an overview of these dimensions along with a checklist you can print out to have besides you when planning and carrying out online dialogues as a way of teaching or learning.
- Know how to use your hardware and software, and have it ready
This means that your computer should be charged/plugged in. You have used the computer beforehand if it’s not your own, and you know where the programs are located on it. Also, check your internet connection and consider connecting an internet cable for a more stable connection.
- Have your username and password handy
There’s nothing worse than starting a meeting late because you forgot your password and had to reset it.
- Have a headset or the likes ready if you wish to use it.
If the build in microphone in your computer isn’t up for the task, consider a headset or microphone.
- Have a trial session with a friend or coworker to test your video and audio
Have a trial run where you try out the functions that you wish to use, and the hardware that you wish to use.
- Make sure the webcam is angled correctly.
If you are sitting on a laptop, make sure that the camera is angled correctly at you so that your student can see you. Some people like the screen pushed further back for reading purposes, and thus the students would only be able to see the top of the teachers head. If this is an issue for you, invest in an external webcam, or play with the screen settings to see if there is a better lighting setting for you.
- Check you lighting
Make sure that you have light coming in from the front, and avoid having windows behind you. The lighting sets the mood in the online dialogue, and your students will listen better if they can see you.
- Set up the session and invite students
Plan the time for the session and prepare in advance. If you are on skype, create a group with the students that are participating in advance. If you are on Zoom or Google hangs out on air, create the event and invite students by email. Make sure to let participants know how much time to set off for a session(and stick to it!), this prevents participants from dropping out of the session towards the end.
- Email reminder
If you’ve planned in good time, send out an email reminder such as “Looking forward to our session today - see you at 15:30!”
- Recording? Let them know
If you are recording let the students know in advance, and what the purpose of the recording is. Make sure the students have access to the recording for revision purposes.
Before the online dialogue
- Make sure that all students know how to access the session
Write a brief guide for them and send it out beforehand. Allow for the beginning of the meeting to be drop in time, for students to check their video and audio.
- Protocol for questions/comments
Make sure you have a protocol for asking questions. In Zoom there is a raise hand option, but in the others you can either write it in the chat or actually have students raise their hand - whatever suits your teaching style.
Make sure your students know what is expected of them during an online dialogue. Should all but the presenting person have their microphone muted? Are kids in the background okay? Which language do we use when speaking to each other in our session? (You can provide your students with phrases from See One - How)
- Instruct them to prepare
Whether your online dialogue centers around a task that the students have finished beforehand such as a reading or an assignment, or you have a guest that the students should prepare questions for beforehand, you should instruct your student on what they should prepare before the online dialogue.
- Student roles
You can give your students roles to engage them in the session, and ease your workload. You can find inspiration for such roles in the table below.
During the online dialogue
- Start early
Make sure that you open the session five minutes before the online dialogue should start. This way students can calmly drop in an check their audio/video
- Coordinate expectations
Refresh key aspects such as the the session topic, assignments that the session centers around, the length of the session, hand raising protocol, muting of microphones that aren’t speaking and so on.
- Dialogue vs monologue
Facilitate the dialogue, don’t give a monologue. Your students will benefit more from the session, when given more speaking time. (Laurillards learning through discussion from See One How)
- Keep it on track
Make sure that the session is covering the topics that you have planned and ask questions to bring it back on track. Keep track of the time.
- Round it off
Round off the session by debriefing the group. What did they gain from the session? What could’ve been done differently? Make sure to let your students know if they fulfilled the expectations.
After the session
- Self reflection
How did the session go? Consider the questions in the Reflection Journal where you have written on what you would like to get out of your online dialogue. As well as the outcomes / evaluation part of the Scripting Template you will get in the last sections of the Do One unit.
- Student reflection
Have students reflect on the session to gain further insight in the online dialogue
If the session was recorded, make sure to share it with your students so they can use it for review.
We have tried to summarise all these technological, practical and pedagogical concerns in the below Checklist for Doing that you can download and/or print out before hosting your own playful online dialogue.
Planning and scripting playful online dialogues
We can use Bryan Alexander's Future Trends Forum online dialogue to reflect on how the careful planning and scripting of the event supports and promotes good dialogic opportunities in online teaching and learning. Above the video we have tried to summarise some of the core Checklist points as they come into action in the Future Trends Forum set-up. Below the video we have tried to point towards the dimensions of the Scripting Template you will be working on in the next section of the Do One unit before carrying out your own experiment with playful online dialogue as teaching or learning practice.
Checklisting and planning the Future Trends Forum dialogue
- Know how to use your hardware and software, and have it ready: Alexander knows the Shindig platform he uses for the online dialogues intimately. Guest speakers meet with Alexander often days ahead of the actual sessions to get to know the technological set-up, the functionality and try out the Shindig videoconferencing tool
- Have a headset or the likes ready if you wish to use it: At the dry-run of hardware and software sound and the quality of headset is also tested to make sure the main speakers are coming through clearly and without any lag or disruptions of the sound. Also the quality of sound in the recoding of the online dialogue is tested.
- Have a trial session with a friend or coworker to test your video and audio: Ahead of the actual online dialogue, Alexander has a dry-run of the whole set-up together with the guest speakers so that the video and audio is tested and the participants know how to navigate the technological set-up and functionality of the video-conferencing tool
- Make sure the webcam is angled correctly: Alexander checks and discusses camera angle and placement, physical surroundings and environment of both himself and guest speakers ahead of the session
- Check you lighting: time of day and lightning is discussed with particular attention towards time differences
- Set up the session and invite students: the session is planned and scheduled weeks in advance, emails are sent out on different social media platforms and through newsletters and emails inviting interested participants to sign up and participate in the dialogue
- Email reminder: a couple of days reminders are sent out about the upcoming event with a bit more information on the guest speaker as well as the aim and core dialogic questions of the session. On the day of the online dialogue reminders are also sent out
- Make sure that all students know how to access the session: in the reminders and on the Future Trends Forum participants can find instructions on how to access the session
- Protocol for questions/comments: in the reminders and the digital flyers sent out to advertise the online dialogue there are also listed some framing questions and discussions point that help the participants ready themselves for the dialogue and reflect on interesting questions they would like to pose
- Instruct them to prepare: in the final reminders leading up to the event, participants find some background material for the session they can access if interested along with detailed instructions for getting on and using the Shindig platform
- Student roles: in the opening of the session the Shindig platform is introduced as well as the different participant roles of both Alexander, guest speakers and audience participants
- Start early: Alexander and guest speaker meet 30 minutes ahead of the session in a separate room to talk the online dialogue through, check all equipment once again and drink a cup of coffee together
- Coordinate expectations: When the session is launched and the Shindig platform has been introduced to all participants, Alexander uses the first 5 minutes to set the scene, establish a joint entry point for the dialogue and coordinate the expectations in relation to how the dialogue will unfold in the course of the session
- Dialogue vs monologue: The next 5 minutes is then given to the guest speaker to introduce her- or himself, but then Alexander enters into a dialogue with the guest speaker around the chosen subject of the session. This goes on for the next 20 minutes. After this all other participants are invited to enter the dialogue and discuss with the guest speaker, asking questions, giving thoughts sharing frustrations and so forth.
- Keep it on track: Alexander directs the dialogue, both in the one-on-one dialogue between Alexander and the guest speaker as well as in the many-to-one dialogue between audience participants and guest speakers.
- Round it off: the last 5 minutes of the session Alexander rounds up, highlighting some of the main points in the guest speakers participation, interesting questions raised by the audience participants as well as pointing towards what some next steps in the dialogue could be. Finally, Alexander points towards the next dialogue taking place on the Shindig platform as well as to where participants can go to learn more and/or participate if they wish to extend the dialogue
- Share: Alexander shares all the dialogues with the community and through social media, over time building a knowledge community around future trends in education and elsewhere
Bryan Alexander -The next university, with Rikke Toft Nørgård
Having considered and reflected upon all the different technological and practical dimensions of the playful online dialogue it is time to take a deeper look on the pedagogical side of hosting and participating in playful online dialogues such as Bryan Alexander's Future Trends Forum. These pedagogical aims and intentions are what together constitutes the Scripting Template in the last section of the unit. A Scripting Template can be used to 'capture pedagogical form' in a way that is focused on the educational aims, intentions, processes, outcomes and potentials of the teaching or learning activity.
It is not enough that the online dialogue runs smoothly, the technology works and no practicalities get in the way, the playful online dialogue should also be a worthwhile, valuable and meaningful teaching or learning interaction and experience. For this to happen, the online dialogue must be carefully and intentionally scripted. Before you get the chance to script your own playful online dialogue we will shortly introduce you to the different scripting dimensions. These dimensions are present in both rather demanding set-ups such as the Future Trends Forum dialogues as well as more casual or impromptu set-ups such as an online meet-up to go through and exchange ideas for an upcoming teaching assignment.
The core dimensions of the Scripting Templates you will be presented with in the next session are:
- First ideas - or why should we meet and have a dialogue in the first place? Alexander, wanted to have a dialogue with Rikke Toft Nørgård on the future university based on some of her work within the area. The initial reason for this was that they both wanted to explore some of the technological intersections between the future campus, future teaching and how this could be supported using design thinking and educational philosophy. Thinking that such an conversation might be worthwhile for others to participate in, Alexander wanted to set it up as an open online dialogue.
- Learners & context - or who are the people and what are the context within which the dialogue takes place? Alexander, scripted the questions driving the dialogue towards professionals, researchers and practitioners with an interest in the future of education. That is, the dialogue was targeted at exploring the subject of the future university in ways that might be interesting to a range of different learners sharing an interest in exploring how such futures might look through posing questions, asking for opinions, presenting own perspectives and challenging the possibilities and barriers for change-making when it comes to large systems such as universities. Focusing the dialogue on a certain context (the future university) and certain learners (people with an interest in the future of education), Alexander could focus the conversation and try to ensure that the dialogue was deep and knowledge-building.
- Rationale & aim - or what is the pedagogical aims of hosting an online dialogue and what is the underlying rationale of meeting to have a dialogue on the chosen subject? Reading into the underlying rationale of the Future Trends Forum it is possible for the participants to gain insight into what the driving aims and ideas are behind hosting open online dialogues like the one on 'The next university' with Rikke Toft Nørgård. The added potential or value of carrying out the dialogue - both in relation form and content - should be clear. As it should be clear how the online dialogue stands apart from more ordinary teaching formats. It can be quite challenging to plan, set up and carry out meaningful and valuable dialogues, so it should be clear what the added potential and value of doing this rather than something else is.
- Outcomes & evaluation - or how does am and outcomes connect in meaningful and visible ways for both teachers and learners? Thinking about the first ideas (or initial dream), the actual learners (and the context) as well as the rationale and aims of the dialogue how will you ensure that the outcomes of the dialogue are meaningful and valuable? How will you assess or evaluate that the rationale aims and dreams are fulfilled? And how will you work to ensure that the participants interaction and experience in the dialogue is desirable, worthwhile and important to them? Alexander makes sure to include everyone in the dialogue by opening up the stage for all, he tries to connect what the guest speaker is saying to previous guests, conversations and participant engagements. And he tries to frame the dialogue before and after it takes place in such a way that it becomes clear what the importance, potentials and learning moments of it is. Finally, he evaluates the dialogue with both speakers and participants to make sure that the aims and intentions of the dialogue is achieved, and that it is achieved in a meaningful way for both speakers and audience participants.
- Ressources & technologies - or what ressources and technologies are needed to carry out the playful online dialogue? Alexander makes sure that there is a stable and tested technological set-up for the dialogue (the Shindig platform) and that it has a composition and functionality that aligns well with the idea, rationale and aim of the dialogue. Alexander also has technological facilitators and helpers to ensure that the whole event runs smoothly. They test the equipment, communicate with speakers, make dry-runs etc. Furthermore, he has a social media platform and newsletter outlet that ensures that there is a meaningful audience at the events so that the dialogues can take place. Even with less demanding set-ups it is important that the playful online dialogues has the ressources and technologies available for it to take place in meaningful and valuable ways.
- Succes factors & potential barriers - or what might prevent or ensure that a meaningful and valuable online dialogue would take place? Alexander makes sure to mitigate potential barriers well ahead of the actual event: making sure that the technology work, that the aim and process is clear to the speaker, that people will show up for the event, that the speaker now the learners and context within which the dialogue takes place, that there is a shared aim and rationale for the dialogue and so on. Building on year-long experience Alexander has solid insight into what prevents and ensures a meaningful, deep and valuable learning experience - both in relation to technology, practicalities, pedagogy, process, design and outcomes.
- Instructions for use - or what is the overall composition of the event and what are distinguishable steps that takes the participants through the playful online dialogue? Alexander has steps that takes both him, the speakers and the audience participants through the process both before during and after the event. These steps could be written down and handed over to other people interested in hosting or scaffolding similar dialogues. One could think of them almost as instructions for use or baking recipes that would allow others to create similar events, activities and educational interactions and experiences. Like looking up a recipe for sponge cake or reading your new dishwasher's instructions for use a well-scripted playful online dialogue should be adoptable and usable for others even if you are not there in person.
Reflecting on all of this, you are now (almost) ready to plan, script and carry out your very own playful online dialogue.
- What aims or dreams would you have for your playful online dialogue? And what are some of the outcomes you would like to see when hosting an online dialogue?
- What would be some critical succes factors and some potential barriers for creating a meaningful and valuable online dialogue?
- What would you like to invite for and what would you like to prevent - both practically and pedagogically - in relation to your playful online dialogue?
Here is a short interactive exercise summing up some of the elements touched upon in this section. In the last section of the Do One unit you will get access to a Scripting Template that will help you plan, organise, and carry out a playful online dialogue as well as a description of the Do One assignment that will lead you to to Teach One unit.