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Sharing in a Sharable Way

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Photo of Jill Schiefelbein at the Emerging Technologies Symposium
by Todd Conaway
Instructional Designer
Yavapai College

Last week, I attended the  Emerging Technologies Symposium, where I met passionate and committed educators, and was fortunate to participate in many great workshops and presentations.  I came back energized to do good, motivated to continue fighting the good fight, with a head full of ideas.  There is a “but.” I want access and easily share the conference session materials with my colleagues when I return to work.

Hopefully, they are not just a bunch of PowerPoint files!  Sloan and most conference organizers do usually make the session descriptions and “workshop materials” available, if the presenters take the time to place them on the conference Web site.  But I think the time has come that when we are in the position of sharing ideas in a room full of people, we take the time to narrate the presentation and share it with those who could not make the trip to be in the room with us.

Twitter can provide a wealth of information about a conference after the fact, if there are links to the presentations and the sites used in them. Tools like Slideshare allow you to add an audio track to your PowerPoint slides, and are pretty easy to figure out. You could even condense the presentation into a few five-minute Jing screencasts.  Adding the content to a blog might invite participation after the conference; Jill Schiefelbein and I simply shared our presentation on a free Web site, and it worked wonderfully.  I have taken this approach before, with presentations on informal learning networks and blended learning, and it has always been well received.  A simple and free Wordpress blog works great!

Each time I present, I tell myself to alllow time for real, thoughtful—if brief—discussions, not just for questions and answers.  And I still ALWAYS go right to the end, or too close to allow for any meaningful discussion time.  I did it again last week!  AGAIN!  I noticed that many of the other presenters did so too.  This in no way reflects on the content and ideas they delivered, but did affect the opportunity to converse in their sessions. So let’s all stand up and say we will engage the audience just a little bit more, and place our conference presentations in a sharable location!  Ready? Ok, stand up with me and shout, “I will make sure to invite participation in my sessions and I’ll place my material in an easily accessible and shareable space!”

Fall 2012 Issue of the ITC Newsletter, Instructional Technology Council.