When my students write, I constantly have them focusing on the Task, Audience, and Purpose (TAP) of the writing: What are you writing? Who are you writing for? Why are you writing this? The same questions apply to giving presentations. What are you presenting? Who are you presenting to? Why are you presenting? The answers to the TAP questions will drive the session format.
Lindsay and I knew that we did not want a "sit and get" type session, nor could roundtable discussions work in a lecture hall of static seating with a virtual audience viewing the live action in the room. We decided to try a talkshow style format: pose a question to the group, poll the physical and virtual audience for their general reaction, share our specific stories, and have audience members volunteer to share their stories as well.
@KtBkr4 and @lindsaybcole starting the great discussion about grading. What should be grade? #flipcon15 pic.twitter.com/8xNSTd8Jt7— Shai McGowan (@slm12) July 15, 2015
The greatest fear for the talkshow style session is that no one will show up and no one will participate. As you can see from some of the tweets, people showed up AND participated. If you view the archive of our session, you'll see me dashing about with the handheld mic.
Would the education way work in business? 1 person controlling the process of 150 other people? #flipcon15 @lindsaybcole @KtBkr4— David Prindle (@dprindle) July 15, 2015
— Christina Roy (@smallbutfeisty) July 15, 2015
Great grade divide session with @KtBkr4 @lindsaybcole this am! #flipcon15 #watchyourrep pic.twitter.com/gY8aC0QLSb— Daniel Welty (@weltyteaching) July 15, 2015
Love this. Should we be grading everything? Let's change the culture and say no. #flipcon15 @KtBkr4 @lindsaybcole pic.twitter.com/zJx3MDw9GL— Shai McGowan (@slm12) July 15, 2015
In order to engage our audience, we took a different approach with our slidedeck, as well the session format. When thinking about how to design your slide deck, answering the TAP questions will determine the type of format for your session.
Lindsay and I realized that this session couldn't be "death by PowerPoint" with gobs of information on the slides. So to spark participants, each slide had a meme and guiding question. We were purposeful in our selection of memes--the meme had to work with the guiding question and be school appropriate. Additionally, to give us something to talk about and engage the audience, we added in polls and discussed the results. So the gist of our format was: poll audience, tell our stories, view the poll results, and have audience members tell their stories. By asking a poll we could have everyone participate and then focus in on specific folks to share their stories. What was the purpose of our session? Get people talking! We couldn't get them talking if we were having them read slides full of information.
Can learning take place without grades? Awesome question! #flipcon15 @KtBkr4 @lindsaybcole pic.twitter.com/ppkKD0p1Lz— Meg Richard (@frizzlerichard) July 15, 2015
— Kate Baker (@KtBkr4) July 16, 2015
Reflecting on the session, I think it went very well, although it was a bit rushed at the end. We could easily have stretched this 60 minute session into 90 minutes without editing the slidedeck. And as evident from the tweet below from flipped learning pioneer and band leader Aaron Sams, the virtual audience was having a very lively discussion. Our moderator, Dan Spencer, did a great job keeping Lindsay and I informed about the virtual audience, even stating at one point the stream was flowing so fast he could barely keep up. I'd like to figure out a better way--other than on Twitter-- for the virtual attendees to interact with the physical audience in the room. It would be cool to somehow have them share their stories via GHO during the session.
Virtual attendance just passed onsite attendance at @KtBkr4 and @lindsaybcole #flipcon15 session #830ishard— Aaron Sams (@chemicalsams) July 15, 2015
This discussion about the Great Grade Divide could be an all day discussion. #flipcon15 @KtBkr4 @lindsaybcole— Shai McGowan (@slm12) July 15, 2015
If you were in the audience for this session, what did you think? Anything Lindsay and I could have done differently/better?
Whether or you were there or not, how do you create conference sessions that engage the audience?