Providing parents with timely, useful information, is one of the tasks all schools face. How, when and where, delivered by who? Are key questions.
For our how, we decided to use ZOOM meeting, a web-based VC platform. (though I see there is ZOOM webinar). Our organisation has a PRO account, £11.99 a month, however even the FREE account offers up to 100 participants, with a 40 minutes limit on group meetings (no reporting however).
When? We surveyed parents asking when was the best time for them, offering 30 time slots, Monday-Friday. Monday 7:30pm-:800pm came top.
Where? From the comfort of your home PC or mobile device. We decided that ‘we’ would, like the parents, present from home.
Who? A presenter (subject specialist) and host (Head Teacher).
Check your Meeting settings. Create the meeting with registration enabled and promote the registration link rather than a meeting link. Set the agenda as the meeting description and include links to pre-reading resources eg exam boards or GCSEpod. You may wish to let attendees know it takes 2-3 minutes for new attendees to find their bearings. Enable co-host. Mute mics on entry. Even in a quiet room, headsets are required. Enabled non-verbal post meeting feedback (however, we did not use this in our first meeting). Joining / leaving notifications were still distracting even when set to host only. There is an automatic feedback option or you can exit poll, as we did. To share resources or presentation overview at the close of the meeting, you will need to enable file transfer.
Practice on the PC/laptop you intend to present on.
Prepare polls in advance. Preparing pre-planned questions with known parents to help facilitate dialogue in the session.
Have a hard copy of your plan / session notes (these will be shared in the chat at the close) and e-copy of links, messages, notes, to copy and paste into the chat.
Delivery – less is more
Be a few minutes early, so that you can check in with your presenter, set yourself, your screen, upgrade your presenter to co-host and test screen sharing your notes/presentation. Allow 2-3 minutes for late entrants. (Enrollment ceased at 4 mins). Repeat a positive welcome message in the chat. New entrants to not see historic chat messages.
Welcome attendees. Outline the roles of the presenter and cohost. Poll attendees to engage and personalise the session. Exit poll – feedback to close or feedback option in meeting settings.
Re-post agenda in the chat. Highlight and test the chat feature – “Type your name in the chat box.”
Mics were muted on entry. Most attendees also “muted” their screens, which we respected and did not comment upon. Some attendees left during the meeting. Stay focused.
We presented the information visually via a simple word document and “shared screen” setting. Avoid moving the document whilst presenting. You may need to zoom out of your document (66%) to display a single page and maximise screen by removing the ribbon.? I think we will try a Powerpoint slide next time? Large clear text. The images worked well.
Plan for breaks. Here the co-host takes questions and feeds these back to the presenter (who needs a break); this is where prepared questions prompt dialogue. On the first two question opportunties, we did not received any interaction. We did in the final Q/A.
Very few non-verbal contributions. We might use these in the next webinar.
Closing the meeting
Thank the presenter, the attendees. Poll feedback. Provide the session notes as a file in the chat. Close the meeting.
After the meeting – recordings and reports.
Local recordings are available in your ZOOM folder. This could be a shared resource in itself.
Poll results are in the REPORTS section. Select MEETING and the poll radio button (raw data). You may wish to screen clip the poll results live?
Team – our first attempt at a ZOOM for parents was largely well received. My thanks to my colleague, a courageous and knowledgeable presenter. We have a few improvements to make for next week “Getting to grips with the new Maths GCSE.”
Headsets are essential.
The host, me, need to do a better job touring the parents around ZOOM before starting.
Polls were effective engagement strategies.
Simple clear visual notes – move to Powerpoint and test screen sharing.
Slow and steady, less is more. Plan for time to seek feedback from attendees. Maybe via polling?
Future Meeting – to include a registration in the Meeting set up. Better use of the Meeting description.
Possibly use feedback from with ZOOM.
Parents were generous in their feedback, despite the audio quality and speedy presentation style.