Thursday, December 10, 2009


I inserted myself into a very interesting conversation today on Twitter, drawn like a moth to the flame by this remark from @budtheteacher:

"Smackdowns" as tool showcases strike me as silly and odd. Am I the only person who feels that way?

Our conversation proceeded in this fashion:

@budtheteacher Is it the name or the concept that you don't like?

@dmcordell Both. The frenzy for tool oneupsmanship is troublesome, as is the idea of the smacking. Mostly the smacking, though.

@budtheteacher Well, it's really more like smacking cards down on the table. Offers a quick intro to sites, generates interest in tech.

@dmcordell Tool frenzy. Is that a good thing?

@budtheteacher I think of it more as raising awareness or suggesting possibilities.

@dmcordell - @budtheteacher Can't we redefine and repurpose words?

@dmcordell Of course. But I don't think the term is being repurposed. These things are generally competitive and they have winners.

@budtheteacher My experience is limited to the Joyce Valenza/Geek Squad SmackDowns. Everyone is a winner there, especially the audience.

And that's where the discussion ended, at least for now. From Bud's comments, I realized that we were talking about two different types of events. The only SmackDowns I've witnessed were chaired by Joyce Valenza, most recently at the AASL Rev Up Learning conference:

2.0 Learning Tools Smackdown

This interactive, energetic, sharing session will highlight the best new tools in a variety of categories. Members of a panel will share their top picks and invite audience members to contribute by coming to a central microphone. All ideas generated will be added to a session wiki and shared with the community.

Joyce Valenza, Librarian, Springfield Township HS Library, Rydal, PA
Robin Williams, Sun Microsystems

By and large, Teacher Librarians tend to emphasize gathering, sharing, and nurturing. Bud may have had a very different smack down experience, but when Joyce and the Geek Squad are facilitating, the only thing that gets "smacked" is ignorance.

Maybe we should rechristen these sessions Un-Smack downs!

"Someone here is losing..." by happyskrappy


@GwynethJones - The Daring Librarian said...

Ok...maybe I'm a bit biased but I LOVES me some Smackdown!

I loved it when I was an enthused audience member ...waking from the typical conference stupor to be energized by a guided but free-flowing exchange of great ideas from people who were EXCITED! to when I was a member of said panel & geek squad bringing the audience into the sharing and facilitating the idea exchange. The energy in the room was AWEsome & it was SRO!

The name is COOL! And it's SEXY!

And you're right Diane!....what's being smacked down is ignorance and let me add apathy... and we CAN re-purpose words, can't we? I say, let the Smackdowns continue! ....Heck, I'm instigating one at my state's ISTE conference the MSET!

Hey, at least it wasn't called Fight Club!

...first rule about Smackdown...don't question the name Smackdown! LOL

/rant...and as always ALL MHO!

diane said...

One person's "competition" is another person's energizing workout.