Friday, November 5, 2010


Edmund Burke said that "Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting." I believe that the same is true of presenting.

As a teacher, I asked that my students practice self-reflection as an integral part of their learning. I wanted them to critically examine their work, to decide what was successful, what didn't quite make the grade, and how they might use their experience in constructing new knowledge.

On Monday, November 1, I presented my first webinar, Eyes to See, for the TL Virtual Cafe. One of the great benefits of using Elluminate as our venue is that the entire session is archived: slides, audio, chat, etc., so I was able to revisit the experience and "see" it from a number of perspectives.

After the initial shock of hearing my own voice, I started to notice speaking strengths and quirks. Pacing wasn't bad, not too many "uhs" but a previously undetected predilection for the word "now" as in "Now sometimes...Now this project..." which immediately brought to mind a sweet family memory. When my daughter was small, she would gather her toy ponies, unicorns, mermaids, and fairies, and begin weaving tales. Frequently the first word of these sagas was "Now..." Did she pick up on that from me, or did I unconsciously echo this totemic word when I began sharing stories with others? At any rate, it was a connection that made me smile.

The content of my slidedeck was appropriate, I felt, if limited by time constraints. In order to supplement and expand the resources shared in the webinar, I've started to build a wiki, Using Digital Images, which I hope will become a useful resource for myself and others.

I had wondered about the dynamics of a webinar. Practice runs left me worried that I would sound stilted, sitting alone and talking into a microphone. I found, however, that even though I couldn't see the faces of my audience, their presence was very real. The online interaction was lively, and it was nice to see familiar names popping up.

Most valuable to me, as both presenter and co-learner, were the comments in the chat section, which I had been unable to follow while speaking. Participants shared projects and links that deepened the conversation; they will provide a rich source of additional material for the wiki.

There were a few technical glitches, mainly due to a prior Elluminate session that hadn't properly exited the room, but the always incredible Gwyneth Jones, handled the situation with great aplomb and even created a special handout explaining how to access the archive.

What I Knew: I was familiar with the content of my slides and comfortable with the topic in general

What I Wanted to Know: How to effectively communicate in a new (to me) format

What I Learned: Practice sessions are important (thank goodness Gwyneth pointed out that an exterior microphone was vital!); an experienced hostess makes everything flow smoothly; webinars are fun!

Would I do it again? Absolutely!

Related Resources:
Archived session, Eyes to See
SlideShare, Eyes to See
Using Digital Images wiki
Resources and Links blog

See a listing of upcoming webinars on the TL Virtual Cafe here


bj neary said...

Diane, I wasn't present but I saw the archived webinar (twice) and it had so many great ideas. Our library immediately put the pictures we have taken so far this year and put it on a digital screen and the students have been enjoying them so much. Thanks for the many great tips, we are going to try them out one by one. Really exciting ideas!

diane said...

Thanks for your positive feedback! I keep adding resources to the Using Digital Images wiki, so check back periodically. I'd love to see any photos you feel comfortable sharing. If I can ever help you with projects, please let me know.

Gwyneth A. Jones said...

It was a pleasure dear to work with you on this! You brought up SO many great ideas! YAY you!