As with most things at the moment, COVID 19 is having an impact on our daily lives, and it’s making us think about how we carry out our day to day activities.  I normally spend a considerable chunk of my time travelling for work.  Mainly visiting education trade shows and conferences as well as customers, and the occasional celebratory event.  When WHO (World Health Organisation) declared a global pandemic, all things ‘travel’ stopped for me.  What are we going to do!?  It’s not a common occurrence.  We didn’t have a back up plan. 

I’ll admit that I was worried.  Worried that the health of my children and family would be affected, worried that friends would become ill, worried that work would no longer need me, worried that people weren’t taking it seriously!!

Word came that all non-essential travel had been stopped, shows/conferences and the like started to get cancelled.  This was a huge relief for me.  I was faced with the prospect of home schooling my two children and I didn’t know how that was going to work.  Nobody did.

A few weeks in, and with a very supportive workplace it meant that I was starting to get a handle on what the new norm looks like in our house.  We had a rota.  PE with Joe, schoolwork, walk the dog, lunch, schoolwork, finish.  I’d squeeze in as much work as I could.  Probably half of what I’d normally do, but it was a start.  Rather inconveniently… we had a half term after 2 weeks of us being at home which was badly timed really, as we’d just gotten into a good habit and then it felt like we had to start all over again.

‘Unprecedented’ and ‘Pivot’ became the new buzz words.  At work the Education team produced some activities name ‘home learning series’ and my colleague (but also a good friend) Katie and I were asked if we’d be interested in running a webinar series to compliment the new resources.  We didn’t need to think about it for long, we’d obviously love to do this!  Most of our time prior to Covid was spent talking to educators and customers, this was a new way to reach them.  We had to do it.

It took us a few weeks to work through a plan, and we also needed to upgrade our Zoom plan so we could host a webinar.  100 people max, with the intention of live streaming to YouTube.  It’s amazing the amount of time and effort it takes to host a 30-minute webinar.  Getting up to speed with the registration process, communication channels, live streaming and the format for the session itself was fun.  It’s good to learn new things, and Katie and I make a great team.

We decided on a slow and steady start, so we didn’t advertise too much, and we didn’t live stream to start.  We needed to build confidence in ourselves, and this was the best approach.  The first webinar came ‘My Micro:bit’, it was soo much fun! We had a format that we’d talked through several times, we stuck to that, and it worked.  Katie and I were feeling great, so we immediately planned the following weeks.

As we went through the webinars we started uploading content to YouTube, then we started the live streaming.  Our numbers have been increasing each week, and we’re reaching new people.  This is exactly what we’d hoped to achieve.  We had a good flow.  Katie and I talked about who would show each project on the webinar, and by choosing the ones that excited us the most we covered them all.  Great teamwork!

Here we are, preparing for the last webinar in the Home Learning Series which goes live next week. 

I had been saying for a while that 2020 was the year to do more stuff that makes me feel scared.  I want to get better at speaking in public.  These webinars have given me more confidence, and now I’m writing a blog… It’s no coincidence!

Sometimes you have to dive in, keep your eyes closed if you have too…. but try to keep them open.  It’s a beautiful and scary world out there and experiencing that with friends makes the journey better.

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