Live streaming video has taken the world by storm allowing everyone from individuals through to groups, organisations, news providers and companies to tell their story from their own perspective in real time without edits. It’s that instant share that can of course cause problems, but that’s another story. I’m far more interested in the learning opportunities it can provide, particularly for schools and even teacher training. Having used a variety of webinar tools in the past to deliver training which often involved quite a bit of “faff” in setting up, both on the part of the presenter and the attendee, I am genuinely excited at how easy and engaging these live streaming events can be. (Okay, “faff” may not be a technical term but it does describe the experience exactly!)
Facebook Live is one of the easiest live streaming apps to use – if you can make a Facebook post, you can live stream video, it really is that simple. All you need is your phone or laptop, a stable broadband connection and away you go. The streaming itself is fully interactive allowing viewers to respond, again in real time, with the usual Facebook emoticons. Viewers can also comment on your content, allowing for instantaneous feedback. In addition, once broadcast your video is automatically saved; allowing educators to build a bank of resources that can be shared via Facebook or even downloaded and shared on other social media and video platforms, such as Vimeo and YouTube. With all this functionality it has huge potential as a learning tool. Imagine being able to live stream a class experiment and sharing it later as a homework reference or study aid.
One Irish education company which has recognised the value of this kind of audience engagement is Education DESTY, a software and training company specialising in social emotional and wellbeing programmes for children. Stephanie O’Malley, founder and Educational Psychologist, recently began a series of Facebook Live training sessions – short video lessons (around 5 minutes each) with accompanying downloadable worksheets. The first three sessions focuses on “Developing Social Awareness in Children”; helping teachers and parents (key influencers in a child’s life) to support children as they build healthy relationships. As a presenter Stephanie is warm, engaging and really knows her stuff. The emphasis here is on short practical tips and resources that are easy to use at home and at school. I first met Stephanie many years ago through the Social Entrepreneurs Ireland network and it was pretty obvious from the get go that she was on a mission to help children be the best that they can be, whatever their personal circumstances. After 16 years supporting families and vulnerable children and through her work as an Educational Psychologist with the HSE she has been at the coal face of children’s mental health services in Ireland. This experience has made her passionate about the importance of wellbeing and resilience and in particular how mental health can affect a child’s academic achievement and overall life chances. Her online attachment-based Social Emotional and Wellbeing Programme is now in some 200 schools across the UK and Ireland and has a growing base of teacher mentors. So it’s this experience and expertise you’re getting in these five short minutes of targeted learning.
You can view the past DESTY live sessions either through the Education DESTY Facebook page or on the Education DESTY website. Stephanie goes live every Tuesday evening at 8.00pm on Facebook, to view in real time just log in to your Facebook account and go to the following – https://www.facebook.com/pg/EducationDesty/videos. The next event is on Tuesday next, June 20th and looks at providing a DESTY timetable where you can schedule social emotional & wellbeing learning opportunities and use the worksheets already provided. On June 27th, meanwhile, there will be a session devoted to helping children calm themselves using a DESTY belly breathing technique. Viewers and even later watchers will be able to use a little animation where the character DESTY shows children how they can practice a very simple breathing technique that helps them to relax, reduce anxiety and deal effectively with stress. This could be shared with a class during SPHE via a whiteboard or used individually with a student on any mobile device. According to Stephanie: “Role-models in a student’s life, such as a teacher, SNA or parent are encouraged to practise and use this technique in their own lives on a regular basis as a means to modelling how and when it works. It can be used proactively a couple of times a day or on a needs basis”.
To give you a taster of the belly breathing exercise, you can view and use a similar Desty mindfulness exercise on Youtube which again could be used with a class or on an individual basis. Lovely way to start the day!
In the meantime if you would like to run your own Facebook Live Sessions for teaching and learning, here’s a good blog post showing you the ropes.