First of all, words mean things, and I was purposeful in titling my post. One of my goals, for better or worse, while at Edscape, was to facilitate a session instead of talking for 50 minutes. I believe that folks that present at conferences are often fearful of allowing the maximum learning to take place in sessions when the room has much more collective wisdom than the person in the front of the room. Even if the presentation fell flat, I was dedicated to doing it the right way.
The results were incredible. I spoke for 20 minutes, sharing some stories, ideas, and general thoughts about classroom engagement, and the importance of having choice, voice, and authentic audience in classrooms. Then I turned it over to the group to discuss in depth the importance of each of these areas then produce a visual representation about how these elements impact learning. The results in 20-25 minutes were incredible.
There are three examples below:
Here is one more example of what the brilliance of the room can produce.
One Group Learning During My "Presentation"
I would encourage all of you presenting in the next few months to think about doing things a bit different. Don't talk for an hour. Facilitate the excellence in the room. Allow real conversations. Challenge the minds in the room, and most importantly, enjoy the beauty that emerges.