At ONVU Learning we’re focused on using technology to support teacher development. So we jumped at the chance to work with researchED Rugby to try to help solve a major problem for teacher conference organisers. During the week teachers are, well, teaching – while weekends can be tricky for many teachers who have caring responsibilities, community roles or just too much marking and planning. And having sold 450 tickets, the venue was also simply full!
Our solution was to test the idea of using social media to share video clips of key speakers as well as links to their presentations, blogs, books and Twitter accounts – so that those who couldn’t make it to the event would be able not just to learn, but also to interact with the speakers.
So, a week before the event we set up the Twitter feed @rEDRugbyTV1 and started sharing information about the event and following speakers, building up a following of a hundred or so key influencers. We also began to plan where we were going to work, who we were going to question and the questions we were going to ask. Here we came across one of the real advantages of working with schools. Conference hosts Rugby School volunteered six of their Sixth Form students to work with us as interviewees. With their parents contacted, approval given for their images to be shared, and DBS certificates checked (GDPR and safeguarding are always important to us!), we were ready to go.
The first interview was actually shot the evening before the event – organiser and genuine enthusiast for research and teaching Jude Hunton gave his introduction to the event – it was watched over 2,000 times by the time the event had started and meant that most people knew who he was!
We set up our cameras, lights and backdrop in the Collingwood Common Room the next morning and made ready to receive our guests, starting to outreach to the speakers on Twitter and encourage them to come to be interviewed, by the students. We were delighted when the first one was Professor Dame Alison Peacock from the Chartered College of Teaching. She was followed by many of the top names in educational thinking including Tom Sherrington, David Weston and experts from the many subject-specific strands of the conference. As our student interviewees relaxed into their roles and we worked out where the lost sound from our first interview had gone, more and more videos were posted – you can see the ones we posted on the day on the Twitter feed here.
As well as asking our presenters about their talks the students asked them all a couple of additional questions – one was ‘what is the most important characteristic of a teacher?’. We’ve put the answers together into this video – what do you think?
Looking back just a week after the event, the video clips have been watched 22,000 times on Twitter (with 150,000 impressions in total) and the Twitter profile has been visited over 5,000 times. So many thanks to the Rugby School Students and the ResearchED organisers and innovators Helénè Galdin-O’Shea and Tom Bennet.