Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

This past week, I attended the Whangarei EdTech Team Summit. After a few years of presenting (and having recently brought my learners to present at the Auckland Summit) I felt it was time to put my hand up for some new things. So when I got an email from the event organizer asking for someone to do an Ignite talk, I put my hand up and replied straight away. It was something I was starting to become keen on over the last few months. I had actually committed to doing one at Global Education Day during ISTE this coming June, so I thought this would be a good intro and first go at it.

Then, at the Summit, there was a call for presenters to do a Demo Slam. I'd never done one of those, so I thought I'd give that a go to. I was extremely nervous about both talks, but I managed to get up in front of everyone (how much harder could it be than a regular session) and do my best.

The first one up was the demo slam. You're meant to have 3 minutes, but I feel like I only used 1 of them. My demonstration was about how you can link Google Slides from one file to the next if you copy the pages. An interesting time saver if you track a lot of progress from learners and don't want to open 20 or 30 files at a time. It didn't win, but the one that did (from a wonderful new member of my digital tribe - Lindsay Wesner) hit right to the heart of a pain point for educators - marking.

I was pretty nervous and probably went through my demo too fast. That's what happens when you're nervous, I guess.

I didn't have much time to fret about that as I had to finish up my Ignite talk and slides. I spent a good amount of time practicing my pacing, and cutting out the unnecessary words.

The next morning I was pretty nervous for the talk, but I felt ready. I sat through the first two ignites and very quickly, it was my turn. We're all our own worst critics, so I was pretty hard on myself, but I also went about it with some perspective. So I'll start with the positive:

I think my message was good, and for the most part cohesive and what I said followed a logical path. I think that I adapted well when things weren't working properly (the slides weren't advancing as easily as I thought they would, and I had some initial trouble with hooking up my chromebook, though I'll attribute that to nerves).

There were, however, a few areas where I could improve upon. For starters, I felt as if I had my head buried in my tablet (which had my script on it). Normally when I talk, I wing it. Every time. I know the main points I want to say, but often ramble and go in an illogical way. An ignite talk is meant to be short and precise. So I made sure I did that. The problem was that I wanted to make sure I said everything as planned. And due to nerves and a lack of confidence, I had a hard time taking my eyes of my script.

That being said, I had at least two attendees give me some really positive verbal feedback. AND while reading, I kept on seeing a lot of twitter notices come up, which meant I was getting a lot of positive feedback online.

Have a view of what I said. Feel free to give me any more advice that I may have missed. It was a scary thing to do, but I'm glad I did it and I'm looking forward to doing it again in another capacity, somewhere.

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