Sunday, February 3, 2008

my zen presenter place

I gave a workshop and a presentation in the last 2 weeks and both appear to have gone well. I got all positive feedback and I think I'm finally becoming comfortable talking off the cuff about things I know a good deal about.

The first was a 90 min. hands-on virtual workshop for students gathered together in 2 remote classroom locations - basically an intro to library resources, but with an emphasis on information evaluation and basic search techniques that work across databases. It's the first of a series of virtual workshops I'm working hard on putting together (the second is a more advanced research and search techniques session). We use the Wimba virtual classroom platform and everything went smoothly, both technically and content-wise, and based on the feedback and the distant classroom facilitator's impressions, the students really got something out of it. Makes all the effort I put into it worth while! The real challenge will be making these kinds of sessions available directly to students at home.

The second was a 45 min. conference presentation on using blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, and RSS for group/team collaboration and productivity. The audience was all professional staff at the college and I emphasized basic, free tools and how they might be used by those collaborating, especially in groups composed of members spread across the state (our college has offices all over the state and even overseas). I also emphasized how all these tools are merging and mixing function-and form-wise, similar to cameras, phones, mp3 players and web access in tools like the iPhone. Much to my surprise, the room was filled to capacity. Instead of a stale slide show, I used PBWiki to present my information and show off examples of how these tools could be used. Luckily after some initial struggle, I got the wireless internet connection to work and everything flowed smoothly (which was very lucky because I hadn't had time to create a back-up version in PP!). I had been sick the entire week prior to this presentation so my prep time was less than I am normally comfortable with, but again, everything went smoothly and I got great feedback from attendees.

I think I'm finally in a place, both personally and professionally, where my self-confidence and experience make me a decent teacher/presenter...

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