Engaging educators in virtual behavior trainings

Engaging educators in virtual behavior trainings
Use case

We provide a lot of information, but we’re also constantly trying to be as engaging as possible. That’s the part I really love about Poll Everywhere: it makes training interactive for participants.

Ron Drummond, a behavior specialist supporting a large school district in Maryland, incorporates live Poll Everywhere activities into his training sessions to give educators an opportunity to think critically about the material and apply it to their own work. “Not only do I get to test their knowledge, but I can see everyone participating.”

Adapting to a virtual format

Ron provides district-level and specific school trainings for teachers and clinicians, specializing in classroom management and working with students with challenging behaviors. As his in-person trainings transitioned to virtual, he started brainstorming creative ways to keep the same level of engagement online. “Shortly after shelter in place, one of the schools asked us to lead a functional behavior assessment training, where we look at a student's behavior and then identify strategies to help decrease some of the challenges that student has. Since this was one of our first virtual meetings and we usually have lots of activities in person, I was looking for ways to make that happen in a virtual setting. I had used Poll Everywhere in one of the conferences I attended, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to use it in my own work.”

Ron first discovered Poll Everywhere as a participant at the Maryland Applied Behavior Analyst Conference. “It was great because we could respond on our phones and see the results presented on the screen. I thought that was absolutely cool.”

After signing up for his account, Ron created activities to fit the style of his upcoming presentation. “I had the activities already created when I inserted them in Google Slides. It was great because it automatically linked to my Poll Everywhere account, which made it so easy to choose the questions I wanted to add.”

Next, Ron made sure to test the software with his co-hosts.

My colleagues were really excited to see how Poll Everywhere works. When we actually delivered the training, seeing the same response from the audience was great.


Running a multi-session training

For the first session of the two-part training, Ron engaged the audience with Poll Everywhere activities at key points during the presentation. “First, we presented a scenario and went through the steps ourselves. Then we gave educators an opportunity to put that information into practice by turning it over to them with their own scenario. Using a multiple choice or true-or-false question, we asked them for their input.”

Sometimes, he would even display the wrong answer option and spark a discussion on why someone might have chosen it.

At the end of the session, Ron used an open-ended activity where participants submitted tweets summarizing their thoughts and shared how they’re planning to apply what they had learned. For example, some participants responded with ‘#CommunicationIsKey’ or ‘#OneBehaviorAtATime’. “Now that we have these great tweets, we can continue using them as reminders for the group at upcoming events.”

The second part of the training Ron facilitated was centered around developing behavior intervention plans based on the functional behavior assessments. By sharing a recap of the previous session’s activities, Ron could revisit those answers again. “Collecting information with Poll Everywhere in the first training really helped us apply it when we were working on the plans.”

Ron’s advice to a new Poll Everywhere presenter is to give it a try and be open to feedback. “The first time I presented with Poll Everywhere, I let participants know that I was new to the tool and asked for their thoughts. People were patient and understanding. The more I presented live activities, the more comfortable I got with the software.”

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