September 29, 2021
Series: Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators - Let's Chat about That!
By: Sharon Muza, BS, LCCE, FACCE, CD/BDT(DONA), CLE | 0 Comments
This month’s Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators post continues to provide additional resources for those perinatal educators who are teaching virtually. When we look to the future, and the COVID-19 pandemic begins to resolve, there will still be a demand for virtual classes. The information in this post will help you to offer engaging activities in an online format. To find all the posts in the Brilliant Activities for Birth Educators series, follow this link.
Whether you are using Zoom, WebEx, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams or any other virtual meeting platform, the chat function found in your chosen software can be a valuable tool for families. The chat box adds extra enrichment and engagement during class and even offers take-aways that can be referred back to long after classes have ended. The chat feature is an easy way to invite even the shyest, most hesitant participants to engage in a safe and non-threatening way. From the very first minutes of a new class, to the final closing activities, using the chat box enhances learning for the families you teach.
Familiarity with the chat box function within your chosen meeting platform. Confirm that the option for all participants to be able access chat is turned on. Also confirm that your admin settings are set to save a copy of the chat transcript. Refer to the user guide specific to your meeting platform for instructions on how to do this.
When to conduct this activity
You can use these chat activities at any point during your classes. Families can be listening to you speak, in break out rooms, watching a video or presentation or doing other class activities and still access the chat. Consider introducing this option early in your first class and then utilizing it a few more times throughout the time you are meeting.
How long to allow for this activity
The great thing about using chat as a passive activity in class is that it takes mere seconds for participants to comment *while* they are continuing to engage with you and others.
How to conduct the activity
Ask a question and invite families to put their thoughts or answers in the chat box. Give them a few seconds to respond or continue with your class and circle back to quickly review the responses or summarize information if you want. You might start classes with a quick chat question or end your class in this way. Lots of opportunity for flexibility.
Suggestions for topics for the chatbot
Here are some ideas to get you started, but truly, there is no limit to what you might want to include or ask:
- One word that describes how you are feeling this week?
- What is a high (or low) since we last met?
- What is the last book or article you read on the topic of pregnancy, birth or parenting? What is your takeaway from it?
- What is a current discomfort of pregnancy and how are you dealing with it?
- Asking any factual question and inviting them to take a guess at the answer. For example - what percentage of babies are born on their due date? How many more calories does a person need to eat when they are lactating?
- What is your favorite resource for finding information about <insert topic>?
- What is a food or drink you are planning to bring with you to your birth location?
- What are you planning to wear during labor?
- Share one takeaway from today’s class?
- What is a word that describes how you want to feel in labor?
- Where/who can you turn to if you are struggling during postpartum?
Saving the info for a “takeaway”
After the class has ended, follow the instructions for saving the chat according to your specific platform instructions. I use Zoom and in my settings I have it set to save the meeting chat in a specific folder. I then go in and copy the information that I want families to have, edit if if necessary, add any additional information I want included and paste it into a document, email or classroom communication tool (I use Google Classroom) and distribute to families.
What families are saying
Families love having access to this information after the class is over and have frequently let me know that they refer back to the collated information often. They also report that they enjoy both finding common ground and celebrating the diversity of experiences with others in the class, which helps them build community.
How might you modify this activity
One thing you might do to build up families confidence in their ability to labor, birth and parent their baby, is to ask how confident they feel (or how much they know) about the topic you will be presenting that session. As the session is over, ask them the same question - and see how much more prepared they feel! They will delight in the fact that they have gained knowledge and information that will be useful in the future.
Another fun thing you could do is invite a different family to "host" the chat each session and provide a question that they would like to ask other families or see other families answer. Just make sure you check in with them to make sure the question is suitable.
Do you currently use the chat feature on your meeting platform for learning activities? How are you using it now? Might you consider using any of the ideas in this post, or gathering the information and sending it out for families to access later? Let us know in the comments section below.
TagsChildbirth education Brilliant Activities For Birth Educators Series: Brilliant Activities For Birth Educators Virtual Childbirth Classes Zoom Virtual Teaching