Tonight I acted as tech support\co-facilitator in Elluminate (or Blackboard Collaborate ) with one of the tutors I have trained to use the online classroom. It is such a buzz to see this particular tutor absolutely flourishing in the online environment. Of course, you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear they say, and its true. You have to be an excellent face-to-face facilitator to be an excellent online facilitator and this tutor is certainly that! Unlike most of our tutors, this one was not opposed to challenging herself and could see the benefits for students and herself so it was a breeze to teach her the rudiments of operating the classsroom and then see her fly!
Each week, we get into the classroom early and I pass on to her more facilitating tips and strategies that I have learned from all the fabulous mentors and coaches I have had along the way. Thus the ripples keep spreading! Last week she tried a mood meter (with chairs) and also launched herself with reckless abandon into using breakout rooms. I did all the creating, naming and moving of people in and out of the rooms and she watched carefully. This week she skilfully facilitated an uproarious game of Pictionary as an ice-breaker and moved people in and out of the breakout rooms herself. I showed her how to use the video and no doubt that will feature in her toolbox in the coming weeks!
Another couple of tutors have also come on board and are now quite confidently facilitating classes in the room with me alongside as tech support and co-facilitator. At this point, at Coonara, we have 5 tutors who are willing and able to facilitate classes in the online classroom. Every tutor uses wikis on a regular basis with students, a couple use MSN with classes, smart pens, video and I have made a few suggestions for tutors to use SMS to contact groups of students as I found that they (students) always checked their messages rather than checking emails and always got the message! Recently several tutors started using facebook with a class and even Twitter. Check out Coonara Early Years Training Facebook page. My coaching cup runneth over!