I’ve been preparing a solo presentation for the 2010 Big Ideas Fest in Half Moon Bay, California, hosted by ISKME–The Institute For the Study of Knowledge Management in Education. I’m especially excited about this, not only because I get to spend several days on the West Coast, but because the conference, or festival, promises to be something special. It is described as “three dynamic days of experts and creative thinkers inspiring and modeling ways for education to become relevant to learning, which includes rapid fire presentations on cutting-edge innovations in education, and design-thinking workshops that make real innovation actionable.”
I know the conference will be special because of the way ISKME has supported and challenged me to prepare this presentation. I am to give one of the rapid fire presentations about “teacherpreneurship,” which was a key concept, or emergent reality, in the TeacherSolution 2030 team’s vision of the future of teaching, soon to be released in our book, Teaching 2030. Preparing for the Big Ideas Fest has given me a great opportunity to push the idea even further.
In past presentations, I have been given a topic and told to speak about my experiences. For example, “we’d like you to talk about teacher retention” (one of my favorite topics, and one that teacherpreneurship has a lot to offer…) I am pretty comfortable talking about my own experiences. I usually discuss with colleagues, prepare some notes, talk myself through them, revise, and go. Sometimes there is a Powerpoint to go along with it.
Not so with the Big Ideas Fest. First of all, Powerpoint is discouraged! I like this already… nothing wrong with Powerpoint, when coupled with a dynamic presenter, but too often it is the crutch for a boring presentation.
The format of the day itself is unique too. Usually I might be told, “you’ll be speaking in the segment about teacher retention.” In the Big Ideas Fest, each presentation fits within a four part design cycle. My presentation will be the “Identifying Opportunities” part of the particular design cycle I’m a part of. Though my topic fits pretty naturally into that category, I had to keep this in mind when planning my piece. (You can read more about the design cycle, called “Action Collabs,” here.)
Next, I had a long conversation with the president and founder of ISKME, Lisa Petrides, to work through my presentation idea. Lisa pushed back in several areas that helped me locate the heart of the story I want to tell about teacherpreneurship. She emphasized the importance of story to an impactful rapidfire presentation (Think Tedtalks). As an English teacher, who believes stories and storytelling are valuable to our society way beyond the realm of actual literary works, I was really happy to be pushed in that direction. Later I received an email with the running notes she had taken during our conversation, with a few comments intejected. This is a tool I use with students when they are working with ideas and writing–take notes on what they say, then print and let them be a reference. I was glad to find the notes as helpful for me as I’ve always hoped they were for students!
Now, I need to get my presentation outline finished! I’m nervous and excited for the final product. It feels good to be pushed to do something unique and creative. By the end of the Big Ideas Fest, I expect to have some new thoughts–or big ideas, he, he–about making teacherpreneurships a reality. And I’m not forgetting, we never said we needed to wait ’til 2030.
[image from iskme.org]