At the iMoot, I attended a session by Vinny Stocker about the use of roles in Moodle. It’s something I know some stuff about but can always learn more. So I settled in to learn some tips and techniques.
After a minute or two, I nearly fell out of my chair: Vinny led off with his learning objectives. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in a conference presentation. Wow.
So then we went along and looked at some tips and techniques. And then he did it again: he stopped and asked us to do some reflection. Gave us time to think. And ask questions. Again, wow. I have occasionally seen this type of thing in conferences, but then Vinny weirded me out again. He actually listened. He responded to our reflections. He answered our questions. He followed up on our comments. Usually a presenter will use this time as a water break. Not Vinny.
So then he started going through spiel again, and I lapsed back into usual presentation mode. It happened again. Vinny announced that we’d do a “think-pair-share.” And used the tool we were in (Big Blue Button – great stuff, folks!) and had us choose a partner and start chatting. Dammit, but it actually worked (despite the typical international bandwidth glitches – my laptop chose that time to drop connection). And again he followed up on it. And then gave us an actual task that we had to accomplish.
Cripes, would someone tell Vinny Stocker that a presenter’s job is not to teach but to blather on while we check our Facebook pages?!?!!!
Seriously, I’ve blogged before about experts taking the “do as I say, not as I do” route – it’s a refreshing experience to have an Expert Presenter actually model what teachers should be doing. It seems to me that people who organize conferences and school PD (are you listening to me, Julian? Katherine?) should require presenters (especially paid Experts, but also dopey volunteers like me) to actually model the techniques we want our teachers to use.
You know, to actually teach.
Thanks, Vinny. Now you’ve gone and made me make more work for myself. Have to try to keep up with the standard you just set.
I've been teaching and traveling the world for decades. I teach technology skills and programming in international schools, and love developing skills in my students. Teaching internationally gives me a broader perspective and I thoroughly enjoy the thrill of new sights and experiences.