Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Value of Audience Feedback

I've had the pleasure of presenting on Google Apps for Education three times in the last three months, and after each session I've been able to refine my presentation based on the feedback and participation of my audience.  While some elements remain consistent across presentations (Google's Custom Search Engine has elicited Oohs and Ahhs every time), I've come to view my presentation as a learning opportunity, something that grows and changes with each iteration. This blog post will serve as a running list of the most valuable feedback I've received:

  • Share both everyday and professional uses: Many of the Chrome extensions I present are helpful to educators, but they're also tools I use in my personal life. Workshop attendees want to know about how the same tech tools can benefit them both in and outside the classroom. 
  • Variety of Relevant Classroom Applications: There is obvious value in covering a variety of tools and apps in a single presentation, but when organizing a recent full day workshop, I had the opportunity to invite fellow teachers to present on their own use of GAFE in the classroom. Attendees really seemed to enjoy hearing curriculum examples that spanned grades K-7, a range I generally don't cover in an hour-long session. Moving forward, however, I'd like to make mention of the work my colleagues shared, to ensure that all of my attendees hear examples that are relevant to their own teaching. 
  • Unconference: Again, this arose out of a day-long workshop as opposed to an hour-long session, but anyone who has given a professional presentation knows their audience has much to add to the conversation. During the last hour of my NYSAIS workshop, I invited participants to ask questions or share ideas, and it led to a vibrant and engaging discussion. The conversation became broader than GAFE, but after 3+ hours on that topic, I think people were eager to hear about other tech tools like Twitter and RSS readers. The chance to network and share what you already know seems like an obvious addition to any PD opportunity.