Friday, 8 November 2013

Reflections on my own ULearn Presentation

This post has been a few weeks percolating...

I was excited to go to ULearn and nervous to present. My topic is very dear to my heart, Connecting with my learners and their whanau / family. You might be sick of looking at popplets, but here is my outline:

I approached the topic from looking at our own identity, at the way we all (incl. our students and their whanau / family) stereotype (a fascinating topic, I definitely want to look more into this!) and make assumptions, the different personas we all fulfill at different times. Then I wanted to ensure that the attendees understood why it is important to connect: Not just because my gut feeling says it is a good idea, there are lots of researchers out there that can tell you exactly why, e.g. 

Next point was how to connect with them, overtly and coverty, finishing off with what to do when there are problems with these relationships.

So far so good, I am still happy with the content. However, as e-Learning Facilitator and this being ULearn I felt obliged to include e-tools. As it was a hands-on workshop I tried to cater for multiple platforms and multiple preferences my activities, e.g.

I knew I would be pushed for time, 75min is less than you would think :) However, my key mistake was making assumptions. I assumed that everyone who went to ULearn was a techoholic like myself. I assumed that everyone would know how to deal with Rolling Notes, how to install apps on their iPad, how to take an object / video they have created and insert it into Google Docs etc. To sum it up, I made some of the mistakes I had wanted to prevent the attendees from making with their learners. I did not take the time beforehand to find out who they were, what level of technical confidence they had and how to cater for them.

I received four evaluations, two giving me a 4 out of 4 and two giving me a 2 out of 4. And I am certain that they were spot on. Some people 'got it', and others were hampered in their 'getting it' by my not knowing where they were at. The irony of this happening at a workshop called "Connecting with my learners" does not elude me.

I was beating myself up about it a bit. These people have paid a lot of money to come to ULearn. Thankfully nobody else but these two felt strongly enough about it to complete an evaluation giving me a low score. However, I can't go back and change it, but I can learn from it.

My learnings:
  • If you present in an unfamiliar forum, ask others who know for some background.
  • If you use technologies, ensure you get a feeling beforehand about the technical confidence of attendees
  • Contact attendees beforehand if you have a chance.
Today I held a very brief online presentation in a semi-familiar forum, this time I had asked about technical expertise from someone who knew. While there was no immediate technical acitivity required by the attendees, I am hoping that they will do their 'homework', and I am thinking about following up with a survey in a couple of weeks time.

If you are interested in looking at my presenter materials from ULearn, they are available here.

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