Multi-tasking and the Backchannel: Powerful learning or more noise

This post was last updated on September 5th, 2011 at 11:04 am

Doug Johnson’s been thinking again,

I thought of this yesterday when attending a presentation by Michael Wesch of The Machine is Using Us fame. (Great presenter and message, BTW). At the end of the keynote, I had an entire page of handwritten notes, which has become unusual for me. Why?

My laptop’s battery was dead and the lecture hall had zero electrical outlets. I could not do my usual thing of checking e-mail, reading rss feeds, or Twittering and half attending to the lecture. Now Wesch’s talk was probably interesting enough to suck my eyeballs away from the computer screen, but then again, maybe not.

One of the things that I seriously question is the conversation about “enhancing” presentations with live blogging, back-channel discussions, streaming on-screen chat, and other noxious goings-on. Are these things actually valuable or are we doing them because we’re nerds and we can?

I already responded a bit but want to flesh out the thinking a bit more. First of all, I think the term “multi-tasking” gets used to describe a number of things and I’m somewhat unclear of the definition. Without addressing Dr. Read the rest

Lesson #1 Share…The Presentation

This post was last updated on December 12th, 2011 at 03:16 pm

I talked about this presentation back in January and had the opportunity to share it last week in Saskatoon. I had many nice comments about this and hope it challenges people. I didn’t record it so sat down and rattled off a 23 minute presentation based on my slide deck.

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You should have seen these kids

I must say I was brimming with pride during the Tlt Summit. Our division presented 10 of the 60 non-commercial sessions. As one of 28 school divisions in our province and one of the smaller ones, I think this says something. I don’t apologize for bragging about the people I work with.

Because of a last minute cancellation I was asked to do an additional session. I immediately jumped at the opportunity to suggest the conveners invite Carla Dolman to do a session on her use of cellphones in the classroom. Maybe my smartest decision of the year. Carla agreed and decided to bring with her a half a dozen kids to help her. You should have seen these kids.

I wished I’d have capture it. Carla began briefly by outlining the thoughts behind the experiment to use cellphones. After about 15 minutes she paused and asked for questions. The audience of about 75 immediately began asking the students questions. “Did it change your learning? Were you tempted to use it to text or call in off task ways? Was it just a novelty? How did students who didn’t have a cellphone feel? Are you still using it … Read the rest

The buzz at Tlt 2008

This post was last updated on September 5th, 2011 at 11:04 am

I’ve been looking forward to this conference for a long time. It’s been about learning, celebrating and having a lot of fun. For a province of one million, we’ve put together quite a line up of people. In no particular order, some random thoughts:

  • Twitter is real. Meeting f2f people like D’arcy Norman, Brian Lamb, Jennifer Jones, George Siemens and Cindy Seibel as well as those who live her in Saskatchewan is cool and slightly surreal. I spend more time with these people than the majority of people I’d consider my working colleagues. Some might view that as sad, I don’t.
  • Back channeling provides push back. Whether it’s in twitter, ustream chats or informal discussions, no one gets away with much. Generally I agree with Alan November’s talk and position but am glad I have to think deeply about things.
  • We could use an open space format. Alan November says, “it’s not about the technology” and George Siemens says, “it is about the technology” How about the two of them unwrap that idea in an informal discussion. Add Stephen Downes into the mix and you’ve
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