Involving the Remote Audience: FOTE14 Case Study

by | Oct 1, 2014

How can you take an amplified event to the next level and involve the remote audience directly in the live event? In this post we look at an upcoming event aiming to do just that.

Some events are naturally amplified due to the enthusiasm and online connectivity of the participants. The upcoming Future of Technology in Education (FOTE) conference is one such event. With an engaged, networked event community and a trending hashtag most years, the event conversation is inherently amplified.

The FOTE team are keen to extend this natural amplification in 2014 and better support their audience’s event experience by looking at how they employ social media. FOTE is always heavily oversubscribed and although the team always offer a live video stream for those who couldn’t get a ticket, they are keen to find ways to bring this remote audience into the event more fully.

We will be working with the FOTE team at this year’s event to help shift the remote experience away from passively watching the live stream and occasionally chiming in on Twitter towards a more active role with the live event.

Here’s a quick summary of the techniques we will be using:

The FOTE14 Google Hangout

The FOTE14 Hangout was conceived as a space for the remote audience to engage with the event more directly by giving them a backstage-style experience during the coffee and lunch breaks.

We have been exploring the functionality of Google Hangouts to draw on the features that would best suit an event audience. A fuller blog post about the ways Google Hangouts can be used at events will follow next week, but for now here is an overview of what remote participants can expect from the FOTE14 Hangout:


The chance to quiz the keynote speakers

Local attendees have the opportunity to catch keynote speakers as they come off the stage and ask them follow up questions over coffee. We will be using the FOTE Hangout to give the remote audience the same opportunity using the Google Hangout Q&A feature.

The FOTE keynote presentations are intentionally short, so these interviews will give the speakers space expand on their topics and engage with the remote audience directly. Remote participants are invited to quiz and even challenge the speakers via the Hangout.

Previews of upcoming sessions

We’ll be hearing from finalists in the Start Up Pitchfest competition and upcoming speakers to get previews of their presentations. Remote participants joining the Hangout over coffee or lunch will be able to find out what is coming up and plan when to watch the live video stream.

Soap box slots

We will be inviting both local and remote participants to take over the Hangout for three minutes for their own ‘soap box slot’. This will be a completely open platform to talk (or rant!) about any topic related to the future of technology in education. Remote participants can share their views directly via their webcam, whilst local participants can drop by the Google Hangout stand and take the microphone.

Providing this kind of backstage, discussion-focussed online space at an event is a new adventure and we’d love as many people as possible to join us in the FOTE Hangout and to give us feedback. If you have time on Friday 3rd October 2014 over morning coffee (11:20 – 12:00), lunch (13:20 – 14:25) or afternoon tea (15:35 – 15:55) then do join us in the FOTE14 Hangout.

Other Event Amplification Activities

In addition to the Google Hangout, we will also be supporting FOTE14 attendees throughout the event with a live Twitter commentary through the @FOTiE Twitter account, and session summaries throughout the day via the FOTE blog to help provide a context to the Twitter discussion for those who cannot watch the live stream.

As mentioned above, the event usually has a very active Twitter stream, and many participants are expected live tweet independently to their own followers. In this type of situation it is important not to flood what some members of the audience will consider to be their backchannel discussion with officially sanctioned updates. Instead, we will be taking a light-touch approach by tweeting the key highlights and using the @FOTiE account to support the discussion, rather than take over. We will be tweeting useful links, answering questions, posing questions and collecting the best tweets for a Storify summary at the end of the day. The Twitter account will also be the primary route for the remote audience to ask questions and contribute to the panel sessions in real time. Any questions that can’t be answered during the main plenaries will be discussed in the FOTE Hangout.

The event will also be making use of:

These tools have been used successfully at previous FOTE events.


Take Part


FOTE14 takes place on Friday 3rd October 2014. If you have an interest in the role of technology in education, then please do join us on the FOTE14 Google Hangout and ask as many questions as you can.

If you would like to give your own three-minute ‘Soap Box’ rant about the future of technology in education, wherever you are in the world, please sign up for a slot. If you’re following remotely, you’ll receive an email with full instructions about how to join the Hangout and present via your webcam.

Image Credit: Big Mike Yeah

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