If you’ve ever facilitated on Zoom, Google Meet, Teams, or any other online platform, you know there is a lot to manage when you virtually facilitate.
Things as simple as sending the right message in the chat are a challenge.
That’s why I was so excited when I first found Stream Deck. While Stream Deck was originally designed for livestreamers, the past few months I’ve been adapting it to help simplify and manage my workshops and it is a-ma-zing. If you are interested in a technology that can help reduce the number of things you have to do in a workshop to have it run smoothly, join us for our May Brain Jam, where we’ll learn and explore using Stream Deck for virtual facilitation.
Brain Jams are always free! Just RSVP.
For more on Stream Deck and why it has my facilitator friends clapping and jaw-dropping, read on!
What is Stream Deck?
Stream Deck is a piece of software that allows us to program a series of buttons that can control our computer. We can program these buttons to activate hotkeys that can replicate keyboard shortcuts, send preloaded text, even do multiple actions in a row with a single button. And if you’re intimidated by the word ‘program,’ know that Stream Deck is quite simple to learn and use.
What makes it amazing for us virtual facilitators is that Stream Deck is highly customizable. Imagine you’re getting ready for a workshop and in that workshop there are four different things you want to send in the chat throughout the time: your intro question, directions for breakout rooms, links to the live polling questions, and a link to the feedback form at the end. With Stream Deck you could create a button with the text preloaded for each of these things, and with one click Stream Deck could open your Zoom chat window, type in the preloaded message, and hit Send. 😱
And for facilitators who are using OBS, Stream Deck allows you to change scenes and manage OBS without ever touching your computer.
Here’s a short demo video of me using Stream Deck as a facilitator.
If you want to jump to what I think is the most exciting bit and watch just two minutes, jump to this bit where I show you how you can send preloaded messages.
Important note: Stream Deck is not just software; it’s also a piece of hardware, a product that costs anywhere from $79 to $249. And if you see that and find yourself thinking, “Holy what!? I have to buy this thing? I don’t even know if I’ll like it yet,” great news! You do not need to spend a dime right now (or ever buy the hardware) to use Stream Deck!
You can get an app called Stream Deck Mobile that’s free for the first 30 days, so you can download it now, explore it at the Brain Jam, and not spend anything on the hardware.
So now that you’ve got a bit of an overview on using Stream Deck as a facilitator, let’s talk about what to expect in the Brain Jam.
Flow of the Brain Jam
The hardest part of using a new technology is typically the first moments of learning it, when you’ve never interacted with it before and you’re not sure where to start. Our Brain Jam is going to kick off right at that place. We’ll all learn how to start using Stream Deck and start building out buttons we can use in our facilitations.
After we’ve got our feet wet with the technology, Brain Jammers will have time to build with a buddy before moving into some Q&A towards the end of the first hour. The second hour of the Brain Jam is totally optional, and is time for folks who want to more actively explore Stream Deck to play and build together. We’ll also get into how to use Stream Deck with other technologies, including OBS in the second hour (if requested).
What you’ll need for the Brain Jam
Before the Brain Jam you’ll need to download the Stream Deck software to your computer and download the Stream Deck Mobile app for your phone or tablet. Stream Deck Mobile will require you to sign up for a subscription, but again, you get 30 days free, so no money spent up front.
Once you have those two pieces of software downloaded, you’re ready to go.
Other than that, you’ll just need the ability to sign on to a Zoom meeting (webcam, mic, all that).
Our May Brain Jam will kick off May 5th at 12pm PT (3pm ET / 8pm GMT).
To RSVP, fill out this short form.
Afterward, we’ll send you an email with instructions on downloading the Stream Deck software and getting set up for the Brain Jam, with the Zoom link to follow.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to drop us an email at [firstname.lastname@example.org](mailto: email@example.com). Hope to see you there!
Facilitator Cards is not affiliated with or sponsored by Elgato (the company that makes Stream Deck). We just think Stream Deck is a super cool piece of technology and we’re excited to share it with you!