From D.’O.H! (the Dept. of Obvious Hypotheses):
Credibility is earned: If students see that their teacher has met with non-schooly success in any of the skills s/he’s teaching in class, then students might take that teacher’s coaching and instruction a bit more seriously. ¹
That’s why I’m screencapturing ² highlights of my “epic farce” of a keynote speech at the Learning Technologies 2009 Conference on Australia’s Sunshine Coast in Queensland last year and posting them on Youtube: so I can show them to my students this year and every year I breathe.
I’ll share several more clips soon — it’s called “shameless marketing,” I think, and I’m all for it, because straight out, I’d love more invitations to speak at conferences — but I chose the six-minute clip below as my lead-off for a very special reason: it ends with belly-laughs from the audience that had people outside the auditorium peeking in to find out what the hell could be so funny in a freaking education speech. Regular readers will know I find laughter appropriate for all houses of worship and of learning — and the sooner all such stodgy institutions get that, the better their (increasingly slim) chances to survive into the next century.
More importantly, the sooner students learn that laughter is okay when they’re presenting, the sooner they ascend from boring to interesting, from droning automaton to spirited human being. And maybe, just maybe, that discovery leads them to learn that designing and giving a presentation can be one of life’s highest pleasures.
So make sure you stay until the end — pacing warts and all — so you can hear all about why Hores are so great:
Steal This: How to Teach Presentation Zen in Eight Minutes
I’m pounding skills — writing and presenting — right out of the starting gate this year, so both my History of China and my World History courses are working on learning how not to cause Death by Powerpoint, but instead cause Delight by Design, via examples from TED Talks and the principles underlying them (consciously or not) from Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen. (Reynolds’ Amazon page here, and his blog here.)
Notice I didn’t label those skills “writing and speaking.” As I tell my students, in their future, some type of visual will be expected virtually every time they speak. Whether Powerpoint or sci-fi Holograph, design skills will be as important as traditional delivery skills. So my two target skills, again, are Writing and Presenting.
To that end, this year I’m not only showing TED Talks, and my own first attempt to apply that presentation style, to my students. I’m also adding, for the first time, this excellent, excellent, excellent 8-minute Youtube overview of Reynolds’ book by marketing strategist Matt Helmke to teach the principles more schematically. Helmke’s video models the design style while teaching about it. I urge you to give it a look for use in your own classrooms. 8 minutes: