This post is related links for my presentation at #21stedu in Vancouver.
While writing a presentation recently I found myself intuitively using elements of a design process.
research and ideate
I started by closely examining the design brief – the blurb about my presentation in the conference handout. This meant that I was actually preparing content that my listeners would be expecting to hear about.
I drafted in a number of different ways:
- penultimate on my ipad allowed me to sketch out all my ideas, quickly without having to refine them to early, without spending too much time working out what to write on and where to save it
- I drafted a structure in evernote, adding in some details to be fleshed out later.
During drafting I realised that my focus was on what I wanted my audience to hear, what I thought was needed in the way of context - I had a real human centred design approach – rather than focussing on what would be easy for me to present and just being able to reuse resources I focussed on the audience and what would be worthwhile for them.
point of view
I thought about the talk from the point of view of the audience – I empathised – and this led me to the simplest and best way to generate participation (in the design brief). I decided to use a twitter back channel and finish with a very quick walk through the first three elements of the design process using linoit.com as a digital post it note collector.
For my initial drafting I chose prezi rather than other presentation tools, as it was the most flexible. It was liberating to choose my presentation tool after I had decided on the content. This allowed the presentation to be driven by the design brief and not software driving the presentation.
I drafted the presentation quickly focusing on the immediate purpose of the talk – case study of change at my school, and then made four or five refinements as I developed anecdotes and examples that would allow the audience to relate to the case study.
implementation and evaluation
I implement the talk tomorrow and no doubt I’ll get feedback from colleagues! And that is a full cycle of the design process.
In this instance the “ideate” phase was spread all the way through as ideas of the final presentation were generated immediately in the initial research phase, but the process forced me to evaluate each of my ideas from the perspective of the audience so I didn’t just go with the same old ideas I normally would. Having the ideate phase occurring in the other phases is simply a representation of the fact that the process can be iterative and cyclical, where different elements or phases continuously interact.
the gift delayed
While preparing for the best PD ever I had a rare moment of self awareness and noted that my overwhelming emotion was one of self-preservation. I simply did not want to damage myself in any way. I knew that if I stayed totally safe I would regret the missed opportunity, however staying positive I thought there is always a chance of renewal and new opportunities to be grasped.
Writing gave me an opportunity to process these emotions. If I didn’t commit myself to the written word on the page, I doubt that the depth and breadth of the emotion would have been articulated.
My starting point was to write fast and loose.
Then I chose to organise my phrases and words according to the progression in my themes. And following that I wrote out a neat copy that would be read out to my peers and critiqued.
By the afternoon of the day after the PD I have engaged in 5 professional conversations about this PD experience. A teacher who was not even at the PD was today out of the classroom and using the school surrounds as inspiration for their writing.
Next week the team will gather to reflect on the learning we experienced through the PD, and we’ll develop the idea as one of the tools in our pedagogical toolbox. I think we’ll start the reflection process with a visible thinking tool. Yet again hoping to model the processes that we want to see occurring in classes and during learning.
Today I participated in the best teacher PD ever. The premise was to write about an experience and then analyse our writing. The theme was “Fear or Fun”, the activity was skateboarding. One faculty member who was extremely competent on a board, took on the role of an expert and taught us the essential basics of moving on a skateboard without landing awkwardly on the ground. The group spontaneously shared their trepidation prior to the activity and it was obvious there was not a lot of the “fun” going on. That soon changed.
Each member of the group, including the Principal @Stephen_H, jumped on the board and covered the distance set in the challenge, there was a lot of grabbing and pushing and hand holding, but everybody stepped up to the challenge. We recovered our equilibrium and sat quietly for 15 minutes and wrote about the experience. There were no restrictions set on our writing. The real fun then began.
We started sharing our writing. I was instantly aware of how vulnerable I was – my fears dissipated as soon as my colleagues labelled my writing as free form prose, they instantly identified the short high impact phrases and single words I used as effective in conveying the emotions I experienced. They gave me advice on how to extend my themes. They appreciated my analogy. As a Science teacher I learnt so much about writing and analysis. As we shared around the group I was impressed with the quality of the writing, the imagery, the vividness of the scenes that were conjured up in my mind, the many literary devices employed for effect.
The purpose of the PD was reasonably simple, for teachers to learn by doing, so that they can allow students to do the same. The reflections that arose during the writing were invaluable. “I haven’t written for so long, I’d forgotten how hard it can be”, “I taught a process that I thought was intuitive”, “mourning the photo of myself on a skateboard and wondering what my Year 12′s will say when I tell them about it”, “I brought my casual shoes, I hoped to find an open mind during the day”.
We laughed with each other as the adrenalin faded, I doubt the shared experience will fade. It will be relived in English classes in the near future.
click here to start: Learn by Doing
a resource: download grid lines
tips and hints: PBL how to start
To design a PBL unit you could try and use this PBL Planner
some links for the advanced PBL learner,
My current list of top 5 Web 2.0 tools: