2 thoughts on “Reflection on alternatives and experiments

  1. derekbruff

    This comment stood out to me: “The additional time such interactions would take which would appear to remove time from the presenting of information. A big challenge for many staff, including myself.”

    I hear versions of this comment frequently when I talk with faculty members about teaching with clickers. (Of course, the technology behind Votapedia is different that behind clickers, but as you note, the pedagogy is essentially the same.)

    I think it’s helpful to remember that one’s audience, at least in a professional presentation, is actively making sense of the information one shares with them. (With students, they’re not always as active in this as we would like!) Posing a question to one’s audience and expecting everyone to respond is one way to guide this active processing in a helpful direction.

    For instance, in my presentations on clickers, I’ll often describe several different ways to use clickers, and then ask my audience to vote on the use they think has the most potential in their own teaching. This kind of question prompts what I think is useful personal application. Furthermore, I can use the results of the question to guide the discussion thereafter.

    It’s true that taking time for this kind of activity leaves less time for presenting information, but that trade-off is often worth it so that one’s audience can engage more actively with the information one presents.

    1. G’day Derek,

      I agree 100% that the extra time consumed by using clickers (using the term as broadly as possible) definitely has its benefits. You’ve outlined one in your comments, I like the benefit where I get an additional insight into what the audience (I’m increasingly seeing twitter, votapedia, clickers etc as changing “audience” to “participants”) is thinking and I’m sure there are many more.

      I see the benefit for me as a presenter so strongly that I will actively try to encourage this in my future presentations – including working out how to incorporate the required time.

      That said, this will not be easy for many folk. In the initial experiment I was re-purposing a talk that was given without “clickers”. This made it difficult to reframe. I didn’t have the time to rethink the presentation to better use the medium.

      I can see the cost of re-thinking their presentations as being a major hurdle for many staff. In terms of the pragmatic majority of university academics (the folk I’m thinking of) additional time is one thing they don’t necessarily want to invest in teaching.

      This is a sad observation, but also the reality.

      But I guess that’s where my role comes into it, to help these folk and that’s where I think your work is also a great help. I plan/hope to make greater use of work. In fact, I’m guessing the above perspective may well be old hat to you.

      Thanks for the comment and making your work open.


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