I have decided to take next week as leave, not that we’re going anywhere, but apart from the odd long weekend (bank holidays) I’ve not had any time off working since the lockdown started, actually I don’t think I’ve had leave since Christmas! I had planned to take some time off at Easter and go to London for a few days, as we had tickets for the Only Fools and Horses musical at the Royal Haymarket. I had bought tickets for my wife as a Christmas present and it was something we were all looking forward to. Then all this lockdown happened and the theatre cancelled all the performances as required by the Government.
I did consider keeping my leave, but with leading a taskforce, it was apparent that I might not have the time to take some (and where would I go).
So this week I was winding down slightly as I wanted to ensure I had done everything that people needed before I was off.
I published a blog post over the weekend about making the transition to online and to not make the assumption that though there are similarities in delivering learning in classrooms and online, they are not the same.
If we are to make the move a combination of online, hybrid and blended than we need to ensure that the staff involved in the delivery of learning have the right capabilities and skills to deliver effectively online.
Back in 2010 I was invited to deliver a 15 minute keynote, which was then shortened to 12 minutes as other presenters had over run. I always think it’s just selfish of other presenters to run over their time slot, it’s unfair to the other presenters and the audience. A good chair will ensure that this doesn’t happen, and should cut presentations short if needed.
I always plan for the time allocated so I don’t run over. Now the accepted model for powerpoint presentations is 2-5 minutes per slide, so if I was presenting according to the accepted model I would have had no more than six slides.
I am also going to use this link about a presentation on presentations at a recent Jisc TEDx event A duck goes quack…
Some final thoughts on presentations
When presenting read your slides out.
Make sure you fill with slides with as much text as possible, just so you can ask people at the back can they read them.
Ensure graphs and diagrams are taken from a document so that the details are unreadable even from the front row.
Cover your presentation with organisational branding, so that everyone knows where you are from and can be distracted from the actual content.
Seriously do think about your presentation. Think of the session as a story.
Don’t read your slides out, use the slides to inform and talk to the audience about the stuff you did or are doing. The slides should inform this not be all the talk written down. Despite everyone saying don’t read your slides, people still do it.
Less is more, sometimes more is better. So don’t cover your slides in lots of text. One slide with six bullet points has less impact then six slides with a single piece of information. Use less words (or even just a single word) and expand this when you present.
Images can be very powerful and can replace words.
Don’t use clipart though, go somewhere like Pixabay or Unsplash and find some decent photographic images.
When using graphs and diagrams, don’t just copy them from your report or Excel spreadsheet, simplify them. Do they add to the story you are telling?
Wednesday I was in the Bristol office. It was nice to meet people, as I haven’t been in the Bristol office for a while now.
Thursday I was back in London for the Jisc Horizons meeting on assessment. The aim of the meeting is to explore the future of assessment in universities and colleges and how technology could be used to help address some of the problems or opportunities we face. My main role for the day is to act as a scribe noting down the comments and ideas from the participants.
It was an exhausting day, but I do feel that we delved deep into the assessment space and identifying some of the challenges and problems universities and colleges face. We also identified some of the opportunities that are out there as well. What can Jisc do in this space, well we’ll discover that later this year.
I also wrote a blog post reminiscing about the Jisc Pedagogy Experts meeting I had attended back in 2007, twelve years ago.
On Friday I was back to the Bristol office, twice in a week. I had various back to back meetings.
In the afternoon we had the knowledge call on presentation skills. Though attendance was low the format appeared to work well. I used a tweetchat format, but used Teams as the platform.
I follow a number of people who tweet regularly sometimes about the most mundane topics like drinking coffee or the weather.
Her post did make me think and reflect on how I and others use Twitter.
Going over my tweets from those early heady days of the Twitter when I started back in 2007 my use was very much “rubbish” and lightweight. There were no hashtags and I appeared to tweet lots about coffee. I know why I did that back then there was very little idea on how the Twitter could be used. So in order to make the most of it I disciplined myself to try and tweet at least once or twice a day. I did that with other service such as uploading photographs to Flickr and recording Audioboos. Usually I would be working, have a break, make some coffee, sit back down and think to myself I must use that Twitter. What am I doing , oh yes having a coffee.
One of the things that does annoy me about Twitter is the way in which people like to dictate to you how it should be used and how you should use it.
I still stand by most of what I wrote back then. Don’t tell people how they should use Twitter, let them know how you use Twitter and why.
As time went by I found Twitter useful in conferences, remember Twitter walls for those who didn’t do Twitter? As I started to deliver workshops and keynotes I found Twitter really useful for making and maintaining contacts and networks.
Twitter became an important source of news and links.
I now use Twitter for lots of reasons. I don’t just use it for my professional life I also use it for other stuff, sometimes serious, occasionally funny and usually tedious and rubbish stuff.
Yes I post links to my stuff, other people’s stuff and stuff in the news. Yes I post about conferences and contribute to tweetchats, I even ran one once.
I remember once someone saying they didn’t use the Twitter because it was just people posting what they had for their breakfast. I never saw that, so decided that every Sunday or so I would post what j had for my breakfast with the hashtag #thisiswhattwitterwascreatedfor and why not.
What I found interesting about that hashtag and tweets was how many people engaged with it, and why not?
I am for all and intents and purposes rubbish at this Twitter and the 4500 people who follow me must also be rubbish at Twitter. The 50 odd people who start to follow me each month must also be rubbish at Twitter.
The main conclusion I came to was we are all rubbish on Twitter.
If you find Twitter useful for something then use it. If you find the tweets of others useful then follow them.
Useful can mean interesting, fun, silly, inspiring, informative, whatever you want it to be.
Go do Twitter and be rubbish at it.
news and views on e-learning, TEL and learning stuff in general…