Doug Lemov's field notes

Reflections on teaching, literacy, coaching, and practice.

08.06.20To Help Dissolve the Screen, Dissolve the Slide

Dissolving Face photos, royalty-free images, graphics, vectors ...
To see is someone is the first step in connecting

One of the best things about my team’s study of online learning techniques is that we get to ‘live the learning.’ As soon as we learn something we get to try it out in the workshops we do.

Here’s a tiny little example. We talk in all of our workshops about “dissolving the screen”–connecting with students and building relationships from afar. One of the most important tools we have to do that is maintaining and valuing facial contact. It’s important for us to see the students we teach so we can better understand their responses to the materials we teach. And it also helps keep them engaged.

But that can be challenging as a teacher because your slides are often up, and on Zoom or a similar platform that means you can really only see three or four other students.

But we started to notice how some teachers, when they went to discussion, took their slides down very deliberately so they could see more faces during discussion. And of course not being expected to look at slides makes it easier for students to observe each other.

At a recent workshop, Erica put that into action with a little bit of meta and I thought I’d show you the video as she did such a nice job of it

You can see her set up her question, ask everyone to chat a response and review what their colleagues wrote and then, for the discussions she takes down the slide very deliberately (well, technically she asks me to do it since we were co-presenting). In fact she goes meta in a way you could just as easily go with students and with adults. Smiling warmly she says, “We’ve learned it’s beneficial to minimize the PowerPoint so you can have those face to face connections.”

And, really, even before Taylor kicks off the conversation it suddenly feels different. A tiny bit like we’re more connected. That we can all see each other is visual reminder that we’re transitioning to discussion.

Anyway, we’re calling this idea of taking down your slides temporarily to reinforce peer-to-peer listening and improve your ability to read participants’ reactions “Dissolve the Slide.” Now that we’ve tried it out a few times we’re sure we really like it.

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