Can You Help Me Demonstrate Global Collaboration in the Web 2.0 World?

In April I will be giving a keynote address to the TCC Worldwide Online Conference titled ‘Global Collaboration in the Web 2.0 World’.  It’s focus will be on the types of collaborative projects educators are using with their students, the reasons why they become involved in these projects and the tools used for the collaboration.

Like with all my other presentations, I like to model the process so I’m hoping you will help demonstrate the power of collaboration by providing your input and as always I will share my research!

Please note: My use of the term global projects ranges from smaller sized projects such as student blogging to a global audience or skype conversations with other classrooms through to the larger scale projects that involve lots of students working together and collobarating on tasks with students in different timezones.

So can you please leave a comment or write your own blog post to let me know:

  1. What are some of the global collaboration projects you have been involved with? Can you include the approximate grade/year level of your students?
  2. Why did you become involved in these projects and what were some of the benefits to your students?
  3. What were the main web tools used to manage the projects?
  4. What tips/advice would you give others to ensure that these projects run smoothly?
  5. Also can you recommend projects that you haven’t been involved with but are good examples of collaboration done well?  I would really love some examples from higher education.
  6. Can you also ask your network to answer these questions?

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Overview of Connected Trainer Workshop From Converge08

This post is a quick overview of The Connected Trainer workshop (45 mins) that I presented with Simon Brown at Converge08. Since the participants were shown an overwhelming number of online tools throughout the conference we decided it was better for them to reflect on they could become more connected.

Survey of Workshop Participants

Before the workshop we tried to survey how connected participants attending our session were so we could design the session to better suit their needs. Unfortunately people choose which sessions to attend on the actual day of the conference which made the task hard. However we did get 15 responses to our survey.

The image below shows the number of responses to use of each tool. Please note : Basic meant they had heard of the tool but had minimal experience using; Average meant had used the tool and have reasonable ability; and Advanced meant they had their own site that they regularly update.

Image of survey results

So instead we ended up quickly surveying the participants at the beginning of the session using a shortened version of the survey and writing their response on the Powerpoint. Majority had minimal experience to no knowledge of using blogs, wikis, podcasts, photosharing, feed readers, personalised start pages, microblogging tools and social bookmarking tools. However there were also some very experienced users within the workshop.

With both surveys it was interesting to see the limited exposure to some of the more handy tools such as Google Documents, Slideshare and Personalised home pages.

Getting Participants To Reflect On Their Connectedness

Instead of doing a workshop where we did all the talking we decided to engage them in conversation by using Flipcharts. I’d had seen Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach use Flipcharts effectively at a workshop.

The idea was for them to work in groups to consider the issues and challenges facing them plus work out the actions they needed to take to become more connected. For those already connected we asked them to consider ways of helping others within their organisation become more connected.

Unfortunately we hadn’t factored into account that the room would be a sloping Theatrette with fabric on the side walls that restricted the area where the flipcharts could be used. While it did work room layout made it harder.

Image of room

As groups they rotated through the Flipcharts answering the following questions:

  1. Question 1: What are the barriers that are stopping you from connecting now?
  2. Question 2: How would you connect if you didn’t have any barriers? What would your choices be?
  3. Question 3: How will you find the answers to learn how to become more connected?
  4. Question 4: What are three action that you will take as a result of attending this conference to become more connected?

Image of Flipchart

Below are photos of their responses on the Flipcharts:

After the groups wrote their responses on the Flipcharts we got a person to read out the answers on each Flipchart and then we all discussed the responses. Both Simon and I also learnt about tools neither of us had heard of which was excellent.

Its been good to see that people at the conference, as well as people within my personal learning network, are using my PLN Yourself website and are increasing their connections to other educators.

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Here Are The Results From My PLN Survey!

So far there has been 196 responses in my Personal Learning Network (PLN) Survey since it was created in October.  And I know a lot of people are interested in what it all means and how I am using this information so let me explain.

About the PLN Survey

I’ve been doing a few presentations on building your own personal learning network (PLN) and wanted to demonstrated the power of a PLN in action. My focus on PLNs was for two main reasons:

  1. If our aim is to use online tools with our students we first need to be using these tools for our own learning to appreciate how they benefit our learning and to ensure we use them effectively with our students
  2. Ability to receive and give advice in our normal f2f interactions is mostly limited.  Personal learning networks greatly enhance our ability to get assistance, increase our learning, reflection and innovation.

Originally I asked my network to help me by sharing their advice by responding in the form of comments on a blog post. While it worked extremely well analysing the information was hard due to the number of comments.  This is when I decided that an online survey was the better option.

So in October I created a PLN survey using Survey Monkey and promoted it using Twitter and blog posts.  The questions asked in the survey are:

  1. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your PLN?
  2. Rank tools in terms of importance in your PLN
  3. What 5 tools would you recommend as a starting point for building a PLN?
  4. What are your 5 tips for new people to help them get started building their PLN?
  5. What country are you from?

Thoughts on The Survey Design

The main design flaw in the survey is Question 1 where respondents were asked to rank 10 types of tools in level of importance in their own PLN. I decided to use ranking of tools that I provided rather than allow respondents to name their top 10 tools because I felt it was more likely they would miss an important tool and it would also make responses harder to analyse.

While the concept of ranking was a good idea unfortunately I missed two important tools – wikis and virtual worlds such as Second Life.  It also meant by supplying the tools to rank potentially I was biasing what options people choose.  Also it would have been good if the survey design provided greater flexibility for respondents to replace the supplied choices with their own options.

Other challenges were with 196 responses analysing short answer questions such as your 5 tips and most important thing learnt from your PLN became harder to analyse.

The Results

Due to the number of response it was necessary for me to pay to use Survey Monkey which was great in terms of the fact I was able to download and analyze the responses using Excel. If you would like a copy of the raw data please leave a comment and send to you.

Most of the people who responded where from USA, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Canada.

For Question 1 about ranking the importance of tools in your PLN I used a weighted formula to determine the relative importance of each tool.  The following diagram shows the importance of each tool in their PLN with size indicating relative importance.

Based on these results microblogging tools was the most important tool in a PLN.  Would be interesting to know if how the survey was promoted (i.e. via blog posts and twitter) influenced this result.

For Question 3 “What tools would you recommend as a starting point” responses were not weighted and it was based on counting the number of responses for each type of tool.  The top 5 tools were:

  1. Set up your own Twitter Account
  2. Start your own blog
  3. Subscribe to blogs
  4. Start using a Social Bookmarking tool
  5. Join a Ning community

Please note the order above doesn’t indicate order of priority as respondents weren’t asked to rank.

There was lots of great advice and it’s impossible to provide all the tips for building your own personal learning network however these are the main points:

  1. Start slowly and find mentor(s) to help you.
  2. Use the same username across tools
  3. Share as much as you take
  4. Ask as much as you answer
  5. Try new TOOLS before you decide they’re not worth the time
  6. Comment on other people’s blogs
  7. Life long learning is the key!

How I have Used The Survey Results

I used the survey results for form the structure of my presentation and I have created a PLN Yourself site to help new people work through setting up their own Personal Learning network.  Hopefully people will find my new PLN Yourself site useful. All feedback welcome as to any changes required.

One concern I now have is while thePLN Yourself site site explains how to work through setting up your PLN based on the top 5 recommended tools I think it is lacking in terms of top 5 handy tools.  Why handy?  Well there are some tools that are everyday tools that are important to us all that aren’t necessarily as important for building a PLN.


Would love to have your feedback on my new PLN Yourself site:

  1. Have I missed anything important?  Is the information too hard?
  2. What about including top 5 Handy tools?  Will it overwhelm?
  3. And if I did have Top 5 Handy tools what would your 5 choices be?

Let me know if you would like a copy of the survey results.

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Have Added Your Voice To My Personal Learning Network Survey?

Next week I will be in Melbourne (from 3-7th December) for Converge 08 and will be doing two presentations:

  1. How Tweet IT is! PD in the 21st Century
  2. The Connected Trainer – presenting with Simon Brown

Image of a stickyEmphasis of both will be on different aspects of personal learning networks (PLNs). I will also be sharing the results of my PLN survey (which I created in October) to demonstrate how my PLN extended my ideas beyond what’s achievable by me working individually.

So far there’s been 149 responses and if you haven’t taken the survey here’s your chance to add your voice! Here’s the link to my Personal Learning Networks (PLN) survey – there are 5 questions and it takes a max. of 10 minutes to complete.

Looking forward to catching up f2f with people in my personal learning network:

  1. Please come up and say hi if you see me at the conference.
  2. Sue Tapp’s organizing a blogger’s meet up for lunch on Saturday — if you want to join us please leave a comment on her blog.


Please leave a comment if you would like a copy of the survey responses (in Excel format) and I will send it to you via email.

Image was created using Superstickies.

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Tips For Making Virtual Classroom Sessions More Interactive

Jo Hart facilitated an amazing session on tips for making virtual classrooms such as Elluminate more interactive at this week’s free online PD. Here is the link to the recording if you want to check it out.

Our next Friday session will also be on virtual classrooms but this time participants will be given the opportunity to take turns moderating the virtual classroom and developing their own skills. We’re hoping that participants take a concept(s) that Jo covered during the session to create resources suitable for their own teaching and bring them to the next session.

To aid this process here is a summary of some of the tips covered.

Some Background Info

Virtual classrooms are essential aspect of training at Jo’s College as their students are spread across the Wheatbelt region (155,000 km²) of Western Australia.

Always remember that there is a social dimension to learning and this aspect is even more important for online learning because students can feel more isolated. Virtual classrooms are one of the tools that can help reduce this sense of isolation for online students.

Keeping everyone awake in a virtual classroom is a challenge because unlike a physical classroom you can’t read student’s body language. It’s important to provide students with things to do other than just listening; build interactive tasks into the session.

PowerPoint and Whiteboard ToolsWhen you upload a PowerPoint into Elluminate any text or images on the slides are fixed in place and can’t be moved. However any text or images you add to those slides from within Elluminate can moved around on the slide. This aspect can be used to create a wide range of activities.

Labeling Activities Using the Whiteboard

Image of MicroscopeInsert an image or list of terms you want the students to define on a PowerPoint slide. Once uploaded, prior to the start of the session, add text to serve as labels to the bottom of the slide.

During the session get the students to drag and drop the text labels to the right locations on the image. Alternatively get the students to type the labels themselves.

If you want to re-use this same activity for other groups of students save the Whiteboard as a wbd file (File > Save Whiteboard > Save as wbd).

Image of Wordsearch


Create a Wordsearch on a PowerPoint slide and upload. Get the students to use the pen tool to highlight the terms.

You can choose whether you do/don’t provide a wordlist.


Wordstorms are great for exploring ideas/opinions, developing concept maps and checking understanding. On your PowerPoint slide write the task in the middle and upload. Get the students to type their ideas/thoughts onto the whiteboard.

Image of a Wordstorm

What is Activities

Examples of What is Activities are getting students to define terms in pairs, find information using the Internet.

Jo did a clever trick of asking us all to put up our hands and using the order we put up our hands to pair us with partners e.g. Number 1 partnered with number 2 etc. Then she put a question on the whiteboard and partners had to text answers to each other so only the partners and moderator could see the responses.

Image of activity

We were all given 45 seconds to text our answers then she put the answer up on the board and asked us to text our partners name to the room if they got the answer correct.

The activity was finished off by participating searching for images relating to the question — Which was what is a bobolink? Images were saved to our desktop then uploaded onto the Whiteboard.

Alternatively you can distribute the participants into break out rooms and get the to brainstorm ideas or research topics in their rooms. Set a time limit using the timer and bring them back to the main room to present their results.

Poll Tool and Quiz Manager

Image of a pollCreating polls and Quizzes are good for revision, assessment activity or reinforcer of learning.

Choices in polls are Yes/No or multiple choice options such as A, B, C. You can choose to hide their responses so they don’t know each others vote until you choose to display.

The Quiz manager allows you to create multiple choice and short answer questions. Both the poll tool and quiz manager are accessed through the Tools menu.


Definitely worth taking the time to listen to the recording from the session. If you are looking for “How To’s” guides for using Elluminate you will find them here on the Elluminate website.  Don’t forget anyone can get their own Elluminate Vroom.

Our next session is this Friday 21 November from 9-10 AM (Perth, Western Australia). Anyone can join! Doesn’t matter if you missed the last session we will be taking that into account. Remember – If you get a chance – create some material to test during our next session.

If you attended the session:

  1. What ideas did you get from it?
  2. And how could you use it with your students?

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Building Personal Learning Networks!

Image of Personal Learning NetworkI’m going to be doing a series of presentation on Personal Learning Networks (PLN) over the next few months. With these types of presentation I like to to demonstrate the importance of PLNs by asking my network to help me.

For my previous presentation I asked my readers a series of questions on PLN. The answers were an essential part of the presentation. They showed how using a range of free web tools we are able to build our own networks that extends our learning beyond what achieved during traditional professional development and enables us to share it with a global audience.

This time I want to fine tune, increase the number of people who respond, and increase the information I share on building your own Personal Learning network.

I’m hoping you can help me in the following ways:

#1 – Please complete my survey on Personal Learning Networks (PLN)

There are 5 questions which take a max. of 10 minutes.

#2 – Please ask your Personal Learning Network to complete the survey

Would really love it if you are able to promote the survey in a blog post otherwise there is a risk the responses will be biased by responses of people who use twitter. Please link back to this post so I can thank you.

#3 – Share useful links for building a personal learning network.

My aim of these links is to use them as a basis for building a site that helps new people with setting up their own personal learning network.

#4 – Four Questions to Use In The Workshop

I really loved how Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach in her Hale School Workshop broke the participants into four groups and got them to move around the room answering the four questions on butcher’s paper. Would be a great way for them to physically feel a personal learning network in action.

Trouble is I’m struggling for ideas for the questions. Sheryl’s were:

  1. How has world changed?
  2. How have students changed?
  3. What should we doing to instill curiosity & creativity?
  4. What will Classroom 2.0 look like?

Any thoughts on what questions I could use? Or can you suggest any different activities?


Would appreciate any assistance you are able to provide and I’ll be sharing the information as I collect it.

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Blogging, Chocolate Murray Cods And Let’s Not Forget Bubble Wrap!

Iamge of chocolate fishLet’s be honest, I’m not sure about others, but I don’t expect gifts when I do presentations but it’s always nice to receive. But I usually give them away (usually to a participant) ’cause I don’t drink.

But thanks to Kerry J I received the absolute prefect presentation gift for EDNA’s Blogging – it’s a conversation — two wonderful chocolate Murray Cod’s. Honestly what else would you give a chocolate loving fish farming lecturer. Image of letter

About Haigh’s Chocolate Murray Cod

Murray Cod is the largest freshwater fish species found in Australia and occurs naturally in Eastern parts of Australia. Unfortunately wild Murray Cod numbers are declining. We farm this species in ponds and intensive recirculations systems.

Haigh’s Chocolates has donating part proceeds from the sale of chocolate Murray Cods towards Waterfind Environment Fund for improving the health of Australia’s river systems (the fish even came with their own letter!!!). What an excellent idea!! And they tasted delicious!

The Extra Gift

What Kerry J didn’t realise was that she had sent two gifts not one! Shhhh don’t tell her 🙂 . Mr9, my youngest son, saw the chocolates (apparently weren’t appealing to him) and stole the bubble wrap which he spent hours playing with (check out this video!).


You can check out the podcast from my online session for EDNA’s Blogging – it’s a conversation here!! Thanks Kerry J for putting so much thought into the present from both me and Mr9 — we both enjoyed them a lot.

Meanwhile what is the best gift you have received as a presenter or participant at a conference?

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Listen To The Wisdom Of Your Network

Thanks to everyone who helped me demonstrate the power of personal learning networks for my presentation yesterday. Your comments, tips and advice were THE essential part of my presentation because I wanted to demonstrate a personal learning network in action to show how it extends our learning and reflection beyond what is normally achieved during traditional professional development and enables us to share our learning with global educators.

The aim of this post is to show how I used your comments in my presentation, explain the main points covered plus to provide links to help others get started setting up their own personal learning network.


Many of the educators at the Educational Computing Association of Western Australia (ECAWA) State Conference had never heard of the term Personal Learning Network (PLN) or Personal Learning Environment (PLE). Sarah Stewart provides an excellent overview on Personal Learning Environment and the tools that she uses in her PLE.

As Graham Wegner highlights “it is hard to explain and sell what an online PLN is to educators without diving and experiencing it themselves”. This is why I felt my best chance was demonstrating a PLN in action by using the network to help create the presentation.

My presentation involved a Keynote presentation composed of information collected from 27 reader’s comments to questions on Personal Learning networks blended with visiting web sites to show a range of different online tools. The title for my presentation and this post is from Ines concluding comment ” As I’ve been told myself in my first days: “You must listen to the wisdom of the network””. Thanks Ines!

I only had 30 minutes so the main points I tried to emphasize were:

  1. Face to face interactions within workplaces provides limited opportunities to exchange ideas and thoughts.
  2. Your Personal learning networks increases opportunities to help each other and is available anytime, anywhere, whenever connecting you to a global network.
  3. If you are planning to integrate online tools into your classroom it is important that you use these tools first for your personal learning to gain greater understanding of how to use them effectively and to realize their importance for empowering personal learning.
  4. It does take time “to get” the value of some online tools and it is important to engage with using them using an open mind. “Not getting” the benefits of a tool often relate to not using it effectively.

Global Nature of PLNs

I started by demonstrating the global nature of PLNs by showing a World map with the names and locations of readers who left comments.

Location of people who wrote comments

A quicker method would have been to use a Frappr map but didn’t want people just to add their names and not answer the questions on PLNs.

Importance of PLNs

Next I showed a Wordle of commenters’ responses to “Why is your personal learning network important to you?” to emphasize the key reasons why educators use PLNs. Thanks Jane Lowe for providing me with the idea to use a Wordle.

Image of Wordle on PLNs

Tools Used in PLNs

I then discussed tools people use to create their PLN by showing a diagram I had created using commenters responses to “Which tools are the most important part of your personal learning network?.” It was created by counting the number of readers who recommended a tool; the size and number indicates the relative popularity of each online tool.

Online tools written in white text were sites mentioned by one reader only. RSS aggregator refers to use of RSS readers like Google Reader and Bloglines.

Diagram of visualsing PLNs

Which tools people use in their PLN are very individual that is why they are personal 🙂 . The benefit of the diagram was it meant I was able to discuss and show a wide range of web sites that they could consider including in their PLN.

Features I noted from this diagram:

  1. Twitter was the most popular tool – as expected
  2. Most readers included online bookmarking sites as an important tool in their PLN however some readers included both and diigo in their list – I’m assuming because they use each differently?
  3. I was surprised to see Facebook included and would love to hear more from readers as to why they value Facebook so highly in their PLNs.

Setting Up Your PLN

Finally I talked about the tools for getting starting with setting up a PLN. I did this by counting the number of readers “tips on how to get started setting up their own Personal learning network” and listed them in order of popularity.

Their advice for getting started was:

  1. Join Twitter – read this post on setting up and using twitter
  2. Start reading blogs – You could use this list of top Edubloggers to find some blogs you would like to subscribe to.  Alternatively check through this list to find blogs.
  3. Subscribe to RSS feeds using Feed Readers – understanding RSS and using it’s power to make your life easier is an essential part of using these tools. Read this post to learn more about RSS and setting up a feed reader.
  4. Start own blog – If you are interested in setting up an Edublogs blog here is where all the how to information is located.
  5. Comment on other people’s blog – read Dean Shareski excellent post on Student and Teacher Blogging that Succeeds
  6. Join Classroom 2.0 – Classroom 2.0 is the largest Ning network for educators. Read this information on how to get more out of using a Ning site.
  7. Join diigo – Watch Liz Davis screencast on using Diigo. Personally though I’m sure my network meant join so here are my instructions for using

During my presentation I also showed my twitter network and asked my twitter network provide links to help educators get your PLN started. Here are the links:

  1. Knowledge Bank Conference 2008 – free online conference for educators on 22 & 23 July – link supplied by Janning.
  2. Top 100 Tools for Learning 2008 – list created from top 10 tools recommended by learning professionals. Link supplied by Michael Chalk.
  3. John Pearce’s tutorials.
  4. Contribute to Rodd’s survey on what tools you use in your PLN – Scroll down the page to read other people’s responses. Link supplied by Rodd Lucier.
  5. 23 Things Program – There is a 23 Things program starting on 21 July. This type of program is really good for learning about a range of online tools. Link supplied by Katherine Greenhill.


It isn’t possible to capture all the information contained in readers responses to my question so I strongly recommend you read:

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Help Me Demonstrate The Importance Of Personal Learning Networks!

Image of helping each otherI’d really love your help to demonstrate the importance of personal learning networks so I’m hoping you will help me with my presentation by sharing your thoughts.

The Background

I’m doing a presentation for Educational Computing Association of Western Australia (ECAWA) State Conference next Friday to overview the ways educators can use online tools to forge personal learning networks related to our areas of interest. Time is limited and I’ve only 30 minutes to talk on the topic.

During the presentation I’m planning to share this post to show how web tools can extend our learning and reflection beyond what is normally achieved during traditional professional development and enables us to share our learning with global educators.

The Questions

So can you please leave a comment or write your own blog post to let me know:

  1. Your name, what you do, what part of the World you are based (to demonstrate the global aspect) and, if applicable, your main web site
  2. What do you think are the 3 most important aspects on personal learning networks I should cover?
  3. Why is your personal learning network important to you? Which tools are the most important part of your personal learning network, and why?
  4. Can you provide examples of how your personal learning network has enhanced student learning within your classroom?
  5. Your tips for educators on how to get started setting up their own Personal learning network.

If you are based in Western Australia and interested in networking with other educators interested in ICT in the classrooms – please join us at the ECAWA conference next Thursday July 17 and Friday July 18, 2008.

Image by lumaxart licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

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What Works! What Doesn’t! Tips From Readers On Presentations!

Checking in on tips from readersAfter 3 weeks on the conference circuit, at 5 different conferences/workshops (8 days of which were away from home) I now have a good feel for what works/what doesn’t for me — and can focus on these when preparing to do my own presentations. [Image by quinncd]

Thanks to everyone who took the time to post their comments on Engaged OR Enraged? How Can We Do Presentations Better? which I used to when organising my own presentations last week. Apologies — I did respond back to the comments but managed in my tiredness to have my own comment munched! And with so many great comments I have now decided that I will respond back using this post because there were so many great tips that I would like to share with all my readers.

So here goes:

Thanks Alan for the links on tips for being a better presenters :

I agree with Simon that clever presenters that have powerpoint as a background displaying stunning images, highlighting key points really engage me. Good luck with your own presentation! Simon please let us know if you want some more assistance.

Wow Emerald and Kathryn great points on what you don’t like (especially point number 6):

  1. Reading aloud a paper.
  2. Slides unconnected to what the person is saying.
  3. Too much text on the slides – I WILL try to read it and ignore the speaker
  4. The “wise person on the podium” approach
  5. People who just quote factette after factette but are obviously unfamiliar with the material and haven’t applied any original thought (happens when senior people who should know stuff, but don’t are asked to speak)
  6. Presentations that I think “well neither of us needed to be here in person for that”.

Totally agree Howard stories are important. My only disclaimer would be they have to be stories that your audience can relate to – presenters have lost me using stories and analogues that I don’t identify with – and you can use too many stories.

Diane’s tips were:

  • Give lots of practical examples – which is what I try hard to do because I find different examples will inspire different educators
  • Ensure you provide a variety of formats, too! i,e, provide paper, electronic, or both – for later exploration because your participants will have their own preferred learning style and vary in terms of technical ability. I remember a classic example where I created an “how to do” screencast (i.e. video) only to find that most my workshop participants struggle to learn this way and preferred detailed “how to” handouts.

Sorry Sarah was my fault — I should have linked better to my post on Presentation 2.0. Once you have seen a presenter use this method of powerpoint effectively – WOW – very hard to cope with other forms. There are lots of great examples of Presentation 2.0 styles on Slideshare however check out Alan’s Being There presentation while listening to the audio – it may give you an idea of how it ties together. (Mutter, mutter — Alan is much better at this style than me — can just watch in awe!)

Kate — I really could do with some voice coaching from you! Wish you were in Perth. Kate’s area of expertise is theatre and she shared these tips with us:

  • Everyone can benefit from rehearsing your stuff. Speak it out loud and learn where to hit the button for the next slide; a lot of colleagues are astonished at this suggestion. Really, an awful lot of wrinkles (including performance anxiety) are ironed out during this phase of your prep. Timing is also very important.
  • What works for me as an audience member is the concept image with the presenter speaking to the meaning … “an image is worth etc.”; large fonts please with only one or two text lines; DON’T read the text, speak to it.
  • Learn to speak clearly and don’t rush (timing again) and yes, eye contact works really well if you can see the audience. Sometimes the lights are turned out for presentations, and you can’t see a thing in a big room. A tip here to make everyone feel you are contacting them, sweep across the audience with your eye line just about the heads of everyone. It works.
  • And don’t forget that it is the human presence, the dynamics of communication which is paramount in all this. Don’t be killed off by your own slide-based presentation.

Take time to read the links John supplied as the research results also relate to classroom teaching. Thanks John for these great links:

  • Research points the finger at PowerPoint – We all need to KNOW THIS! “It is more difficult to process information if it is coming at you in the written and spoken form at the same time.” I am glad there is a scientific basis to why I had to switch off in a few of the presentations!
  • Help! My brain is overloaded!– I need to remember this “In a classroom situation, only limited material is going to be retained, unless notes are taken or handed out”

John also asked me “What is engaging you in presentations?.” Well over the past 3 weeks — the only ones that have totally engaged me are the ones that focused on interaction and conversations. What works for me on the web is social networking – the engaging, communication, collaborating, conversations and sharing. Yet conferences often expect us to sit in rooms for up to 8 hours just passively taking in information with no interaction.

As Joel says “Great slides don’t make great presentations. Great presenters make great presentations.” So true! 3 weeks of conferences I have some classic examples of presentations that had valuable information but I could not hold my attention for this exact reason.

Thanks Gary for the link to Miles’s review of 19 Tips for Public speaking. Some of my friends have pet words — hate to think what mine are….

Love how Leonard is now debating the true meaning of Presentation 2.0 – “A *TRUE* “Presentation 2.0″ should involve the audience – if not in the creation of the content itself, then certainly in its delivery.”

You know what Leonard I think I agree – when reflecting what I like/don’t like — the unconference format of BarCamp and PodCamp work the best for me because of the interaction between the presenter and participants. Would love to see the unconference format adopted more widely. PS Harriet can you ask Louise and Jackie for how they found the unconference format?

WOW think Sally comment is a nice closer where she talks about:

  • Mixing shock value of stories with images that are equally shocking/confusing/hilarious
  • That work it in with the heated/passionate discussion that will soon follow, either through questions or comments, depending on the size of the audience into collaboration and networking.

Great quote Sally “In summary, bounce off the walls and let it get messy – it lends for some real cool learning”


PS Hopefully my presentations went okay — still on trainer wheels — feedback welcome.

Side note — What I did add into mine last week was SMS for them to ask questions between the morning and the afternoon presentations — which meant they were able to ask questions they would not normally have an opportunity to ask and get their answers!