Back to Blogging? Thoughts about presentations…

I’m back!

Maybe.

After nearly two years of letting this blog languish (Twitter is so much easier!), I’m posting something again.

Me presenting with Prezi at a NITLE conferenceI just finished presenting with Bryan Alexander, NITLE’s Director of Research; Trina Marmarelli, Instructional Technologist, Reed College; and Bill Junkin, Director of Instructional Technology, Eckerd College about alternatives to the standard PowerPoint presentation. Bryan gave a nice introduction to how people are starting to break away from bulleted slides. Trina talked about a new form that people are imposing on PowerPoint called Pecha-kucha. Bill gave a demonstration of Ubiquitous Presenter — a tool that allows a professor to annotate Powerpoint slides on a tablet PC while students “tag” the them. And I presented on a web-based presentation tool called Prezi, for which I created this screen cast. (The picture with this post is me using Prezi for the first time at the NITLE Instructional Technology Leader’s Conference.)

I think we just scratched the surface of this topic in the hour that we had, but it was a great start. The way that people are doing presentations is changing … or has changed … and  in a good way! New forms like Pecha-kucha and the Lessig Method,  and new technologies like Prezi and Ubiquitous Presenter, which themselves encourage different approaches to presentations, are shaking us out of the deadly bulleted slide and encouraging us to communicate more clearly with our audiences.

When we are thinking about Information/Technology Literacy/Fluency for our students, this should be part of the conversation. We are well past the time when undergraduate students have to learn the mechanics of Powerpoint. Most of our students have been using Powerpoint since Middle School, sometimes even Elementary. What they still need to learn (and what we should be teaching them) is how to use this and similar tools to communicate effectively. And the stuff we covered today, it seems to me, could play a big part in that.

Educause Top Learning Challenges: Engaged Learning

I’m at a session right now about Top Learning Challenges at Educause. Someone just read off this quotation which I have seen before.

Yet despite the tremendous investment that all institutions of higher education have made in information technology, despite the number of classrooms wired and the number of laptops mandated, the vast majority of classes proceed as they have for generations—isolated, even insulated, from the powerful technologies we use in the rest of our lives. Moreover, the form in which scholarship appears has barely changed. Across almost every field, researchers, no matter how sophisticated the technology they use in discovery, translate their discoveries into simple word-processed documents.

via The Academic Culture and the IT Culture: Their Effect on Teaching and Scholarship (EDUCAUSE Review) | EDUCAUSE CONNECT

I wanted to capture this here, because I think it does a good job of describing one of the main challenges of my job and my department at Wheaton. We need to help faculty and others at Wheaton explore this technology we’ve been investing in and the digital world that we are now all embedded in — so that we can discover or tap it’s potential for transforming teaching, learning and research.

Text Encoding

In honor of the Text Encoding Workshops that I helped organize at Wheaton the weekend before last, I present a Bob Dylan TEI mashup. (Never thought I would say those words.)

Thanks to Chris Hyde in my department for finding that one.

The Workshops themselves were great. I am hoping we can get some good collaborative projects going with Mount Holyoke, Dickinson College, and NITLE around publishing the documents we are creating. Hopefully more on this soon!