Friday, October 21, 2005

Where do we find the time? Or should we?

Darren Kuropatwa at A Difference posted Monday some links about blogging and presentations, including these truly dynamic presentations:

Laurence Lessig uses powerpoint in his lectures.

this presentation on digital identity by Dick Hardt.

Go ahead and look at them. If you're used to the typical in-service PowerPoint, they'll blow your rubber booties off.

Talk about shaking my kennel with the power of technology as a presentation tool.

First, kudos to Darren for the links, then kudos to Lessig and Hardt for their presentations.

I can't help but wonder how much time it took to put the presentations together, and how that fits into the day of a teacher like Darren or any of the rest of us. Darren has at least three distinct preparations. Last year I had four, and the teacher who replaced my retired self has five this year. Is it possible within the constraints of a 24-hour day to BE that effective?

In the sense that each of us knows that to be effective we have to present, yes. I know very well that each of those 50-minute blocks of time has to be planned: we need a destination and a map, we need to choose the appropriate means of transportation, we need ways to determine if we've arrived at our goal and, increasingly, to prove to others that we did.

And certainly, a powerful presentation a la Lessig or Hardt could be one of the means of transport we might choose. But let's not lose track of the fact that they had more time to prepare an individual presentation than we have to prepare for an individual class. Hypothetically, a 50-minute planning period (if we're not using it for grading or meetings or just recharging (or a combination)) provides about ten minutes to get ready for each individual class.

But how many of us present the same material year after year? Every year for the last I-don't-know-how-long I've introduced any number of American authors and their work. I've taught narrative forms and poetic forms. How many of those journeys might have been more efficient using presentation software as effectively as these two do? So could I take an hour here or an hour there to build a carriage for my Emily Dickonson unit? Or to groom a horse for Stephen Crane? Or swab a deck for Melville? And then use those tools year after year with only fine-tuning in between?

I think that's the only way we can get the mileage out of our time that we need to.

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10:41 AM  
Blogger Mr. Kuropatwa said...

I think you've hit the nail on the head. Presentation's like Lessig's and Hardt's take a lot of time to put together (still an assumption on my part because I haven't tried yet). The only way individual teachers could do this is s l o w l y, over time, add maybe one presentation per semester or school year.

Then again, take 15 or 20 minutes out of your class and show them Dick Hardt's presentation. Then give them a project that requires them to present using powerpoint a la Lessig. They've got the time we don't.

This could be such an incredible learning expereince for them - planning, organizing, preparing and delivering a presentation like that would invole a host of useful skills and foster some really deep thinking on their part -- which is what teaching is all about, isn't it?

9:55 AM  

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