Most teachers attend conferences to learn stuff. They want to know attend sessions about the latest apps or iPad integration, or And while it’s great to learn about that app called Algebra Touch, there’s a lot more going on during that session that’s way more important.
As teachers, we should be attending conferences to learn how to teach more effectively. We rarely get to watch other teachers teach during the school year. Conferences are a chance to watch the best of the best do what they do best (say that ten times fast (and yes, that was a Top Gun reference)). My favorite part of attending the #iste12 sessions was observing the teaching styles of the presenters. I attended three sessions, and learned tons from three #EduAwesome presenters:
Mark’s session, Transforming the Music Classroom with Technology, was full of quiet music teachers. Nobody was talking before his session. In fact, it was eerily quiet for a packed room. A quiet room is a strange thing for a presenter, and I was wondering how Mark would respond to it. He started off with general small talk five minutes before his session began. When nobody (except me) responded, he decided to show them a couple videos and websites. It sounded something like,
“Hey, have you heard about The Infinite Thinking Machine? No! You’ve gotta check it out…”
His ability to warm up the crowd was astonishing. With a few simple comments and a couple shared websites, the mood in the room was completely different by the time he began his presentation. He not only avoided the awkward pre-presentation time, but connected with the audience.
Rushton presented at Virtual ISTE to an online audience. In fact, I was the only other person in the room (acting as moderator (read: chat room helper)). With online presentations, it is so easy for the audience to feel disconnected. Rushton keep them engaged for two and half hours. I noticed he used humor to maintain engagement, making purposeful jokes every ten minutes or so. Often, he simply changed his intonation, or used a silly phrase: “Don’t poo-POO this idea.” Every time his intonation jumped, comment in the chat room erupted. Simple, brillant, and incredibly effective.
In a Jon Corippo session, the audience actively participates. Jon constantly asks them to shout out answers, and make comments to each other. Most presenters would be afraid of losing control, but not Jon. People in his session were engaged the entire time. In fact, as he was demonstrating the Apple TV, he gave out the password so the audience could mirror their own devices on the projector. Now I know why people call him #obiwancorippo.
If you want to become a better teacher, watch great teachers teach. I’m guessing you won’t be at a conference later tonight, so in the meantime, watch some talks on YouTube. There are amazing teachers with unbelievable presentations. Start by watching The Tech Commandments by Adam Bellow.