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Distance learning: how to bridge the gap between the speaker and the audience

Distance learning: how to bridge the gap between the speaker and the audience

In the early hours of Thursday, February 27th, Wooclap data analyst Florian Zenoni made his way through the rainy streets of Brussels. He’d been scheduled to speak at the ASEAN University Network Technology Enhanced Personalised Learning (AUN-TEPL) Symposium in Singapore, which was hosted by one of Wooclap’s partners, Singapore Management University (SMU). Originally scheduled to be held at SMU, the symposium was converted to an online format in response to the current COVID-19 situation, to allow more overseas attendees to participate. More than 180 educators from 51 universities attended the half-day online symposium.

The irony wasn’t lost on Florian who, having been invited to speak at a Symposium that aims to promote best practices in the use of technology in education, would have to rely on that technology to deliver his presentation on that very subject. As a matter of fact, this was the perfect opportunity to show Wooclap’s usefulness - even in a distance learning setting. After all, if he could use the classroom response system to interact with an audience 7 time zones and ten thousand kilometers away, that would leave little doubt as to its efficiency during in-class lectures.

The challenges

The first and major challenge Florian faced was one teachers know all too well: how to draw the audience’s attention and keep it for the duration of his talk. The answer was simple: interact with them, involve them in the presentation to increase their engagement and draw them in. Wooclap’s real-time interactions fit that role perfectly. To be fair, that is what they were designed to do in the first place.

The second challenge was identified - and solved - just as quickly. Florian needed a way for the audience to ask questions, should they have any. Since he would face an auditorium through a computer screen and a webcam, identifying attendees who raised their hand would prove difficult. “In addition”, he thought, “no matter how extroverted a person, asking them to shout their questions at a computer at the front of the room would be pushing it.” At any rate, he already had a solution in mind and at hand. Wooclap’s message wall allows any participant to send their questions at any time during the presentation, anonymously. The message wall also allows audience members to “like” any questions they find interesting so the speaker knows which questions they consider most pressing.

The result

More than 60 people actively participated in Florian’s presentation by asking and answering questions about analysing learning behaviour, improving in-class interaction with students, and collecting student feedback.

He was a quarter of the globe away from his audience, but thanks to the Webex video conferencing tool and Wooclap’s real-time interactive features, he may as well have been in the adjoining room. Incidentally, the people in adjoining rooms were attending other presentations, and Wooclap was there to help them interact with each other too.

Curious to know what the presentation was about and what it looked like ? You can watch the replay on the Singapore Management University website.

The picture below was taken at the end of the presentation and shows Florian and his team members who came to support him in our Brussels office. You can tell by the smile on their faces that it went well !

Selfie

Wooclap and distance learning

As Florian’s successful presentation demonstrated, Wooclap can be used as a means to different ends, whether during an in-class lecture or a remote course.

As you’re reading this, the schools and universities in your country may have already closed for the foreseeable future, or they may not have reopened yet.

In our mission to improve education for all, we try to offer any assistance we can in these difficult times. To learn more about our offers for institutions at different levels, click here.

You can download this article HERE

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Gauthier Lebbe

Gauthier Lebbe

Inbound Marketing Manager @ Wooclap, interested in and excited about applying EdTech to the educational needs of today’s students