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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Learn•Reflect•Share...and the Slide I Forgot

My presentation preparation process:
Step 1: Think/brainstorm in a general way, about the topic.

Step 2: Start creating slides.
Step 3: Do tons of thinking and research (including searching for and reading related material, looking at related slide decks, etc) as I add slides.
Step 3.5 (which is part of steps 2 and 3): Obsess over slide design, search for or create the perfect  image. I can easily spend 20 minutes fine-tuning the design of a single slide.
Step 4: Ask a trusted colleague to review the slides and give feedback.
Step 5: Make changes, additions, etc.

All the while I am working through these steps, I am thinking, thinking, thinking about the slides and how they visually support the message I hope to convey.
By the time I am ready to present, I have spent many hours, while working on the slides, thinking through my ideas. I am prepared. Even with all the thinking, I don't know exactly what I will talk about with each slide until I say it. I sort of make a decision to just trust whatever comes in the moment as being the right thing to say...it keeps me from over-thinking or getting nervous.

The nicest thing is receiving positive feedback after a presentation. It feels like the message I worked so hard to craft was received and resonated with the audience. I really enjoy reviewing the back channel and being able to immediately reflect on what was shared there.

Even though this process seems to work for me, I always go through a stretch of time afterwards where I think of all the things I really should have said. Normally this phase only lasts a short time, and then I let it go.



Learn, Reflect, Share (edJEWcon keynote) from Andrea Hernandez

I was honored to be able to share the opening keynote for this year's edJEWcon. I tried to set the tone for a conference based on the idea that learning is a cyclical process, one that involves reflection and sharing. Immediately afterwards I thought of the things I shoulda, woulda, coulda said...and then I forgot it all in the many wonderful conference experiences that followed and occupied my mind.

Except for one thing. In all the experiences that followed, and in all my reflections on those interactions, I realized that there was one important slide I totally forgot. It is not random nor is it replaceable. It is a vital component of the learn, reflect, share cycle. VITAL.

image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pamhule/4463975948/


3 comments:

Jewlearn-it said...

Andrea, you truly embrace the spirit of sharing your knowledge and take it to a higher level. Hopefully many people will value your mentoring learning opportunity. I know I do.
Keep up with the great work you are doing!

Andrea Hernandez said...

Thanks, Nomy! Would love to catch up with you soon and hear about what you are doing these days.

Meredith Katz said...

Hi Andrea,

I was at the edjewcon conference and have been trying to figure out a way to participate in one of the blogs that all of you presented. I was not there with a day school so we didn't have a blog specific to us-

I think I have subscribed to the edjewcon blog because I keep receiving updates in my work email, but when I try to comment on those it says I am not in the system and can't log on to comment.

So here's the story I want to share and maybe you can help me redirect it to the appropriate place.

I teach online graduate courses in Jewish education. At the end of the semester (at least) I have my students come together synchronously in small groups to share presentations of final work or work in progress. There is no way I could get 12 of them together at the same time across time zones and work schedules, so I do multiple sessions, often at night at home. My sixth grade daughter offers enthusiastic tech support but it is not an ideal situation.
Last week it took the three presenters and myself half an hour to get started because my Skype at home would not allow me to video call multiple contacts. Eventually one of the presenters (who had also just been at edjewcon) called her married son to figure out how to do google hangouts and invited us all to a chat that worked off and on. We were on the chat until 11 pm. Everyone was exhausted but felt good about the conversation.
Last night I was taking the participants back and forth from Skype-without-video to google hangout and back to Skype. Very messy and consuming of everyone's precious time at a late hour. By the time we got to the conversations everyone was exhausted and the discussion was not as rich as it might have been.
As the professor, this makes me feel that I am not doing my job well. I invited them-I should be prepared.

These cases are examples of the risk taking and messiness promoted at edjewcon, but there must be some ways to get to the prize (rich conversation and connection building) without so much pre-conference anxiety. At some point I feel it is my job to stick with what I know (I had a conference call number ready if all else failed) so that the work of our class could take place in a timely fashion.

Again, not sure where or how to share this but would love some feedback not necessarily on the "how to use Skype" front but on the how to incorporate technology more seamlessly into the work of a course or class.