Friday, March 25, 2011

3 Easy Ideas to Update Outdated Meetings

Old Style Paper and Pencil Meeting
Help move your meetings out of the past and into the present with three ideas that will ensure your meetings are more efficient, effective, and don’t require any added investment of software. All you need are access to Internet and a computer.

  1. Utilization of Online Spaces
  • Does your school have an online discussion space like a Moodle, Blackboard, eChalk, Schoolwires, Ning, etc.? Incorporate that into your meetings.  Create discussion topics and send those out prior to your meetings.  This way during meetings you can skip past idea collection and move to making meaning of ideas as they relate to the work at hand.
  • Incorporate the use of your online discussion forums into meetings.  During breakout sessions have feedback posted on a discussion board to which people can refer when they reconvene and it provides a way to keep the conversation going even after the meeting has ended.  

2.     Instant Collection of Breakout Group Ideas
  • Depending on the task at hand, the discussion board might not be best either because of the topic or perhaps you don’t have such a space.  Instead, create a Google Spreadsheet that can be accessed with a tinyurl.  Ask each group notetaker to place the ideas there.  When groups come together to present no one has to furiously type what is being said. No one has to collect and compile it later. It’s all right on the Google doc along with the responses from all the groups and can be referenced anytime. You can use this to gather information from each individual participant too by placing questions along the top and participants names along the side so that if it makes sense ideas can be attributed to the people who made them.  

3.     Digital Meeting Agendas with Resources
  • Create a digital agenda so all the resources and materials accessible to participants to refer to before, during, or after the meeting without having to hunt for them later or have them emailed. You could have feedback, videos, responses, etc. embedded right into the agenda.  Here is an example of what this looks like.  
Maybe your next meeting could be in Second Life!

All three of these ideas enable a paperless environment to occur, with an added bonus of saving money on paper.  Another bonus is that each idea provides a way for those unable to physically be in attendance to participate remotely before, during or after the meeting. Take it one step further and add in a conference calling tool or online meeting space like elluminate, and no participants would need to physically be in the same space.  

Once you have these under your belt, you can visit a dozen more ideas here


  1. Thank you for sharing these ideas! I was publicly humiliated for suggesting online discussions for a group that I participate in this week!

  2. @dancecookie, how were you publicly humiliated? What was said?

    I am often publicly humiliated for using tech. Folks have no idea what I'm doing or why, but often accuse me of not paying attention or being engaged...which is never the case. This comes from 1) ignorance 2) fear 3) lack of respect.

    I've tried to explain, but some people just don't want to do things differently or accept others that do. In fact, it was because of such people that I was inspired to write this post!

  3. I suggested our Leadership team save time in meetings by not discussing a philosophical book once a month as a group, but rather have a blog discussion throughout the month and spend that 15 minutes implementing actual policy that reflects our discussion and values. A key "leader" in our school who forces teachers to attend PD on things like blogging, said it was a bad idea, then threw it to a "raise your hand" vote where everyone voted against me (and the other teacher who suggested it). This after many of those same teachers, privately, whined about the wasted time... It was crazy!

  4. @dancecookie, That's ef'ed up. What should happen is choice. Those who want to respond electronically can. Those who want to participate F-2-F can. Isn't it crazy that those who are supposed to be leading and helping educators to differentiate instruction don't practice what they preach???