It’s been two and a half weeks since I actually presented, but it sometimes gets hard to find the time to sit down and write. I know I should dedicate more time to my blog, but, just like exercise, I always seem to find an excuse.
My previous entry mentioned the fact that I was about to present at my first ever conference and was feeling quite nervous. Nervous for a variety of reasons – I’ve never presented to any group of colleagues in my 15 years as teacher, I certainly wouldn’t have expected it be at a conference (as opposed to a staff or local board meeting) and it was a topic I NEVER would have guessed I’d be somewhat knowledgeable enough to actually present!
I presented, “My Class Page is Up – Now What?” at the London Regional Digital Symposium earlier this month, in you guessed it, London, Ontario. What a fantastic opportunity for me and a wonderful experience!
My presentation was completely geared to new online/blended teachers using D2L. I had some apprehension because it had nothing to do with the actual tools in D2L or curriculum development. I wasn’t sure how many people would be interested or if it would be considered beneficial for the people attending.
It turned out to be great! My main focus was on engagement strategies. I earlier called this the “eye candy” of an online class. It really is. I wanted to look at ways to get kids TO the page. I can leave the structure, tools and marking to you.
I discussed the newsfeed, adding some ideas like music, pictures, cartoon, audio files and video files. Each of these was meant to be a way to not only add some life to the page, but also get an insight into you as the teacher. When learning online, you can miss some of the personal aspects of a face to face class. You don’t always see the personality of the teacher. I feel that making a connection to a live person is an engagement strategy. I certainly didn’t like all my teachers or profs going to school, but at least I “got to know them” a little bit.
After the newsfeed, I tackled adding a few widgets to your page. I have used voki, twitter, and most recently, Facebook on my D2L class page. I was trying to convey that interaction is crucial in engaging your students. Voki can use your own voice, it can be used even as comic relief. Twitter and Facebook are two of the largest social media sites out there and can reach your students these days in ways we couldn’t before.
I was naturally nervous and wasn’t sure if I was as prepared as I needed to be. I’ve been in the audience for a few presentations and it can be vicious. People challenge your ideas, correct you and ask questions you don’t have the answers to! Aack! I did NOT need to fall on my face while representing my board! (and myself)
I think I did well for my first time! I talked a little too fast, but my audience was very gracious. They listened, they laughed (when appropriate!!) and my favourite thing – TOOK NOTES!!!! Oh yes! Someone valued my experience!!
I had also prepared some recorded “tutorials” on how these things worked, just in case I went too fast or people might need some more time to let it soak in. I was so very pleasantly surprised to get a few emails asking me to share my tutorials and even answer some generic questions. I could help! I did it!!
Oh how I enjoyed my first presentation. Oh how I thought of all the ways I wanted to improve. Oh how I felt a sense of pride in actually getting up there and doing it! Oh how I sang my lungs out on the drive home!
I hope I earned enough points with my eLC and Delc to go to other symposiums in the future. Not necessarily to present, but to sit and learn and be in that audience for that first presenter feeling so excited to share!