Brief reflections on the SNB #PDLM

The Sudbury North Bay Region's PDLM

Thanks to Tim Robinson for tons of work on the presentation.

Last Monday the Sudbury-North Bay (SNB) Region hosted the e-Learning Contact (eLC) Provincial Digital Learning Meeting (PDLM) online using Adobe Connect (AC – just kidding). Each region has a turn at hosting a PDLM, and ours was hot on the heels of eSymposium (eSymp) on November 19th (esymp.ca).

I want to mention first that I work with a truly amazing group in our region. I’m privileged to be Chair for our region (no one else wanted to be) and was also lucky to be co-hosting this PDLM with Andrew Swartz from Northeastern Catholic DSB. All of the eLCs in the region contributed a great deal to the event, and [spoiler alert!] it was very successful!

The Agenda

  • Welcome, etc.
  • D2L Update
  • Best of eSymposium (three breakout sessions)
  • Break!
  • Mini Virtual Ed Camp
  • eLO update

I think most of this is “normal” (although awesome, because SNB was hosting), but the Ed Camp was different for us.

Mini Virtual Ed Camp

We were using Adobe Connect, so we opened up a fresh chat pod and asked the participants to type in topics they were interested in. We hosts watched the torrent of ideas rush past, and we noticed three topics “trending”: Carousels, Integrations (particularly GAFE and O365) and ePortfolio.

We set up three breakout rooms, one for each topics, and asked people to choose which they wanted to go to. We made it clear that we weren’t “presenting” in those sessions, but that anyone there can ask questions and anyone there can answer them. Participants could go to a room to learn something new, go to a room to act as an expert, or anything in between.

It worked well

People mostly stayed put, although they were welcome to move between rooms (only about 5 people did). That’s partly because participants have to be moved in Adobe Connect (they can’t just wander on their own; they need help from hosts).

I didn’t get to attend the breakouts myself, but feedback I heard was that the 30-35 minutes was about right for those topics. Much longer and people might have found their attention wandering. The groups were also large (one around 35), so that’s pretty big for easy online chit chat.

I’d like to participate next time

I’m hoping a future PDLM includes some Ed Camp time; I’d like to try it out. I wonder if a service other than Adobe Connect would be better to allow people to move between rooms, or if multiple meetings would be better (separate URLs).

I think a face-to-face Ed Camp would be pretty sweet too – I’d love to see one here in the Sault.

Big plans… :)

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2 thoughts on “Brief reflections on the SNB #PDLM

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this. I hope you don’t mind if I share it further – but then if you did, it wouldn’t be here, right?

    I thought the PDLM rocked as well. I loved the EdCamp idea. I think it worked well on many fronts, especially from the perspective of respecting eLC’s time and allowing them to choose the learning needed.

    What I might suggest in the future, and I hope others will chime in here as well, is that we get more input before the event as to what the topics might be, and at eLO we can work to get more capacity in the room to meet the needs of the learners. If we can anticipate broad areas of need in advance, we can work to maximize learning by getting capacity into the areas where it can be best utilized. However, I don’t want to disrupt the spontaneity of it either. It’s a fine balance.

    The creativity and visual attractiveness of the entire event was outstanding, and we can’t ever underestimate the value of beautiful design in maintaining engagement.

    Nicely done, Sudbury-North Bay Region! You DID indeed ROCK!

  2. Thanks, Donna. It was a great experience, for sure. I often find the “in between” time at conferences to be the most valuable – reflecting over lunch, chatting up a presenter after a session, learning from someone who attended a different session – and I think the Ed Camp approach offers a lot of the same benefits for the “formal” time. I also think that participants could handle a lot more Ed Camp style in a face-to-face setting – easier to move, more dynamic.
    Thanks for the feedback!

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