In this blog, we are going to share our two week journey on using Teams Live Events. We went from never using the platform to holding 66 live events in a single day by training key staff, who cascaded new skills to their colleagues, giving them the confidence to run a successful online live event.
At Wilberforce Sixth Form College, we encourage staff to provide constructive feedback while collaborating. This environment means people can share what works or how something could work better. By encouraging staff to practice and develop their confidence, it enables them to share hints and tips with each other.
Although there is a need for whole staff training, to run an online live event, peer-to-peer training is far more effective. It helps get a consistent message across by having colleagues training each other.
We were running Teams live Welcome and Taster days for the College. In the build-up, we worked with about 15 staff members to help them practice for their event and build their confidence. When things went wrong, we laughed about it, and worked together to fix it.
“It was an amazing experience for us to be involved in. It helped to build our confidence with digital technologies but also actively encouraged us to think of creative and innovative ways to work.”
How to make sure everyone is safe during an online live event
Have a safeguarding policy and share it with staff regarding online live events. Provide best practice guidance for recording and co-producing events. Talk about how to protect personal information such as background and surroundings. We also have guidance for students on how to respond and act appropriately online.
If you’re producing the events, it’s best to ensure pressure is minimised as much as possible. Ensure staff training is for all abilities and confidence levels.
How Teams has enabled us to put wellbeing at the forefront of our digital transformation
We have work channels with a professional tone. This meant that teachers could work from home. However, we also have social channels too. This gives staff the chance to reconnect and gain back some of the social aspects of their life missing with the shift to remote learning.
Meetings, events and open days are always a team experience. People can feel overwhelmed and daunted at the prospect of doing these remotely. With Teams Live Events, staff can still easily collaborate from anywhere, ensuring staff felt comfortable, confident, and supported.
How to train staff to stream an online live event
- Meet with your Tech Team to discuss the best way forward with regards to hosting online live events. In our case, the decision was to use Teams Live Streaming.
- Give staff training on how to use Teams Live. We used Teams itself, and rolled out training to all staff over two days. We also ensured these were recorded for staff to view after the event.
- Reassure staff that others will be on hand to help if anything goes wrong. By doing this, we were able to minimise the pressure around the events.
- Encourage staff to practice setting up Teams Live Events with each other, taking turns to be a presenter and a producer. Ensure the Tech Team are also on hand to help.
- Create a culture of shared risk. This will foster the approach of having a go and to continually keep practising. Reassure staff that if things do not go to plan, it is not the end of the world.
- Don’t overwhelm staff with too much all at once. Provide step by step guides and video tutorials that are done in smaller chunks and build up as staff can increase their confidence.
- Constantly refer to parallels with technology that staff are already comfortable with. For example, if they have done Teams meetings then reassure them that a Teams live event is very similar. Get staff feedback on their preferred methods of training and buddy up staff within their faculties/wider college environment so those who are more technical minded can help those who are less confident.
- Make sure staff are set up using two monitors. This was decided as the preferred method of working for us and made the live event run smoother.
- Trust staff to deliver their online live event where they feel most comfortable – whether at home or in a work setting. We were able to deliver 66 events throughout the day. These were attended by 2000+ students both live and on catch-up. During the event, the Tech Team were on hand to support staff if needed.
- Immediately after the event staff were encouraged to share their experience with others. If any events were not how the presenter wanted them, these were removed from the website to be re-recorded later.
How to run successful online live events
One of the reasons we were so successful in such a short space of time was because the college management placed their trust in the abilities of our teachers to adapt to change and plan the strategy.
From a teacher’s perspective, our training really helped to bring staff together and working in complete collaborative and developmental ways. This is not the usual way for teaching to occur, due to time and location constraints.
“I would never have believed that such a wide variety of staff would have been able to deliver such a consistent and engaging experience for external students. It has given me the confidence to see that through teamwork there is no limits as to what can be achieved”
– Helen Appleby
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About the authors
Jon has been assistant principal at Wilberforce Sixth Form College for two years. His main roles are the development of teaching and learning including digital skills. Jon also manages the data and IT team. His main passion is teacher training and seeing colleagues learn new things and go on to pass these on to their students and colleagues. More recently, this has been centered around upskilling staff with Microsoft 365 and transforming the curriculum to make it more accessible via Teams.
Kelly is currently the Cross-College English Coordinator at Wilberforce Sixth Form College. Her lead role is to help develop levels of literacy (English) across the college. She is also interested in looking at how they can develop digital skills and digital literacy. Kelly has been involved with the TLA team in the past few years and has done a range of training sessions on how to develop the use of digital tech within the classroom. She is currently studying for her Masters in Education, specialising in digital technology and leadership. Her main passion is innovative and digitally centred teaching and learning, teacher training, and developing a wider skill set in all staff across the college.
Helen has been working at Wilberforce College for the last 20 years and has always had an interest in TLA. This has led to becoming a lead practitioner for TLA, as well as being involved with the coaching and mentoring of new staff and assisting staff to complete their NQT and QTLS status. She has delivered staff training in a variety of subjects from differentiation to using Microsoft applications. Many years ago, Helen completed an MSc in Teaching and Learning, focussing on the impact using technology has on student achievement in the classroom and the impact it has on student engagement and motivation. She is particularly interested in how coaching can help support teaching and staff confidence in the classroom.