At least you finished?

June is a hyper-busy time for us. End of school, ramping up for summer vacation, year end presentations, the list goes on. It tends to be a time when we showcase what we’ve learned over the past year to welcome feedback and praise. It’s and important part of what we do, the sharing and evaluation of our accomplishments.

Last night was my daughter’s year-end piano recital. She did an awesome job, despite losing her place in her solo piece. “At least you finished”, was my feeble attempt at consoling her. Reflecting on it now, however, I don’t know if it’s “just about finishing”. It’s about putting yourself in a position where you can finish, isn’t it? It’s about entering a space where you’re able and willing to showcase what you’ve been working on. It’s about being brave and confident enough to try and to be assessed, and to potentially fail. I think that’s a big part of what learning’s about. Learning is important. It *has* to be.

Reflecting on all this, and internalizing it, tonight marks my first attempt at a public 5k run. I’ll be running through the streets of my hometown of Grimsby:

peachbud 5k

Last time I was running through Grimsby…well, maybe that’s a story for another time. Despite a tender ankle and a muscle strain, I’m committed to doing it. I was thinking it was going to be about finishing, but I’m not convinced that that’s the case anymore. Wish me luck, y’all.

Envisioning 2020

TEDxGuelphU

This year’s TEDxGuelphU conference, envision 2020, will convene leading thinkers and doers of the community:

This is the second TEDxGuelphU, a student run initiative at the University. Props to this year’s organizing team for putting together an awesome event. Tickets for the live audience are sold out. The event will be livestreamed on on the TEDxGuelphU homepage.

Master of Karaoke?

Karaoke Star!

cc: flickr.com/photos/derekgavey

From the “Research Interests” section of my application package:

“My course work will focus on media, technology and literacy. The proposal for my research project is to focus on media-enhanced presentation styles that encourage improvisation and participation. Specifically, I will be examining PechaKucha, Ignite, PowerPoint Karaoke, and Battle Decks events. My final project will explore how these presentation styles can contribute to meaning-making and community building in an educational setting.

My research will focus on these presentation styles as a new type of literary form; a digital, participatory, fluid and multi-modal script. Through an examination of these presentation formats, I’ll discuss how the enforced structure of these styles affects the information presented, suggesting that the rules demand a creative and intentional approach to meaning-making. I will look at ways in which this enhanced script creates a new performative experience, establishing new relationships between the presenter, audience members and external online participants who are contributing to the discourse during the presentation. I will explore the interplay between the live events and the online commentary, examining how the boundaries blur between the "real" presentation and the "backchannel" conversation, and how this interplay can serve to enhance or distract from the intended meaning of the performance.

My research will draw from and advance the work done by Guelph’s Media Education Project and the international Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice research project. I will be working with educators to explore how these presentation styles can be incorporated into course delivery and student assessment.  Together with these educators, I will explore the new literacies necessary for students to be able to effectively participate in and learn from these new presentation styles.  Beyond the context of the University, I will build partnerships with the technology and arts community and community-based organizations, with the goal of creating a community engaged approach to this scholarship.”

@barrydahl put it well: “Cool – you’re going to get a degree in PechaKucha and Karaoke. I’m looking for a program in slot car racing and ping pong.”

I’ll show him!

Artifacts from “Community is the Platform” keynote

wordcloud:

wordcloud

initial concept map:
original concept map

slideshare:
(not exactly sure why “Platform” was cut off of the first slide in the conversion)

supporting material: tinyurl.com/springIT2010

Lifeskill: Learn how to present

I’m starting to come down from a bit of a high after presenting at IgniteWaterloo 2.0.

Videos to be posted soon.

A quick shout out to the organizers and all those who presented. A mighty thanks to everyone who attended as well. Y’all should know that we’re starting to plan for IgniteGuelph, June 17th. Not much to look at on this page yet, but stay tuned.

I’ve been thinking a fair amount about how people learn to do effective presentations. I get the sense that most (myself included), learn by watching other presenters, doing a quick search, and then just doing. I’ve certainly found that the more I present, the more comfortable I am, and the better my presentations are.

I’d like to make the case that the ability to craft and deliver effective and engaging presentations should be recognized as a core competency and built into curriculum in secondary school and higher education. I think that presentation skills are as important as numeracy, literacy and writing skills. From what I’ve seen (and I hope I just haven’t found it yet), there are no training or guidelines made available to students. Unfortunately, the exposure students have to other approaches to presenting either comes from their peers (who tend to have similar skills, approach, & experience) or their teachers/instructors (who have a…range…;P).

Presenting is an art and it requires training and practice. People need to know learn how to develop good visuals, to deliver content in engaging ways, to present to different audiences using different media and with different styles, and (I think this is really key), to know how to adjust a presentation to a different style/media/timing on the fly.

I’m encouraging teachers/instructors out there to think about building alternative presentation styles into their course assignments. What about having students do ignite-style talks? If you teach, what about giving one yourself at the beginning of each week? each class? how about once?

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