Presenting as a Learning Opportunity

Every day should be a learning day, right?  Of course, but sometimes the learning happens when you don’t really expect it!

I’ve recently applied to become a DEN Guru. Part of the process is an online presentation.

To be honest, I didn’t expect to make it to the list of finalists, but I did and that in itself is very cool.  So, initially I wasn’t too concerned about doing a presentation, because, I didn’t think I’d have to do one!

Now that I’m in the finalist list and I’ve been working on the presentation for several days I can say that even if I’m not successful in becoming a DEN Guru this year, the experience was worth it!

I’ve always leaned toward the Socrative questioning method and learner based instruction, so when I need to present in a way that places me in the traditional “podium of knowledge” position I’m a bit uncomfortable.  Then I realized that while, as a teacher and technology integration specialist I have created and delivered hundreds of “presentations” they were less formal genre than this one.  So I had to get my head around those ideas first.

As I started to really prepare the presentation itself I needed a morning to control the feeling of being totally overwhelmed – how could I possibly “present” all that I wanted to share in only 25 minutes??  But, I think, I have that under control now too.

Then the details of content… wow, a year ago when I did some research on SAMR, there were half a dozen references to it online… it was new and even in those half dozen sites, there was repetition.  Now, SAMR has taken off (and in my opinion, for good reason) and there are hundreds of references to SAMR and SAMR blends, SAMR extractions, SAMR extensions and so on!  Go ahead, Gooogle SAMR… if you have an afternoon to spend browsing and thinking about “teaching above the line”… there’s lots of good stuff!

Then of course there is an ever elusive amazing graphic that I saw last week that would be perfect in this particular spot in my presentation… but… oh… did I see that on Twitter?  Did I favorite it?  Or was it in one of the online subscription services I receive?  Maybe it was a dream?  Well… at this point it doesn’t matter – it’s not going to get in the presentation because after a couple of hours of searching, it doesn’t appear to exist on this earth!

And finally… I’ve learned a couple of deeper lessons:

  • As I started this presentation process, I spent some time in the “I can’t do this” zone.  I considered backing out, but then realized that would be unfair to someone who didn’t make the list, but could have if not for me blocking the way.  So, I accepted that I have a responsibility to do this.  I pushed on, and now I’m quite confident that I CAN do this.  I’m feeling good.
  • My second deeper lesson comes from a Tweet I read recently.  A leading speaker, consultant and specialist in the area of technology in education Tweeted that she was exhausted after spending 8 hours working on a presentation for XYZ Conference.  I read that and thought, “Oh goodness – get over it. You were just preparing a presentation! How hard is that?” Well, there’s always value in any experience that gives you perspective into the opinions of others.  So I have to say that, “YUP, I now totally understand what you’re saying!”  So, “Judge not…”, “Walk a mile…” and so on – odd that that’s a lesson that I need to keep re-learning!

Anyway… my presentation is based on providing reluctant (in terms of using technology) teachers with some tools that will help them take small steps forward and become more confident in their ability and the value of technology in their practice.  Although the presentation is 25 minutes for my application, it will easily be adapted to a longer, learner centered session in the near future. I’m quite excited about “presenting” both versions!