Hi! I’m David Fetterman, President & CEO, Fetterman and Associates, past-president of AEA, founder of empowerment evaluation, author/editor of 17 books, and the recipient of both the Lazarsfeld and Myrdal Awards.
Tired of meeting on Zoom all day? Want a bit more than talking heads to keep your colleagues, students, and clients engaged? Try an avatar-based format. VirBela allows you to communicate with people in a more “embodied” and collaborative manner.
You create your own avatar. In my case, I pick white or gray hair, glasses, a polo shirt, and jeans. Linda, my evaluation colleague, selects a purple outfit, dark hair, and sneakers. We meet in virtual classrooms and present our PowerPoint slides to prepare for an empowerment evaluation exercise. Later we sit by the beach in a private area to discuss the pros and cons of using a survey or focus group for our next task.
Navigating from room to room is easy – just select the setting from a menu. Moving around the campus simply requires the use of directional arrow keys.
One of the benefits of this collaborative meeting platform is that it gives you the sense of meeting with people in a shared setting at a conference, classroom, or recreational area. Just like in a professional association conference, you can “take off” on a boat and talk about both work and family – all from your desktop computer.
Give it a try when you want to enhance participation and collaboration, particularly with youth. It is a good way to keep everyone attentive and motivated, while combating Zoom-fatigue. I have a brief tour on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YpdXi8FRaU&t=68s.
For more information about VirBela see: https://www.virbela.com/.
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