Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Paperless at Inservice

Going paperless isn't just for the classroom; there are many unnecessary reams lost during professional development inservices as well.

The intricacies of this are interesting. It's as though we need paper because "we never know when we'll need this information again", and then it fills up our impossible-to-quickly-access file cabinets, never to be seen again. Or, because "we need paper to jot notes on". And then 80% of the people throw away the sheet at the end of the presentation anyways.

I've done away with the one-sheet outline of the words I say during my presentation, and I never did go to the ultimate waste, the power-point slides printed out, with room for notes. Instead, I give my viewers three links. One, the link of my presentation at Two, the link of my Delicious resources for the presentation. And three, my email.

For example, during my IAAE presentation, I gave them this Delicious link, which has in it all the resources I used for the "efficacy of online learning" research I conducted. And, below is the presentation, which is available at Slideshare.

For those that haven't used it, Slideshare is a very easy-to-use program. Create a free account, and then click a button to upload your Power Point, Open Office, or Keynote presentation. To get the full effect (with transitions), you can make the presentation available for download (you'll see I still need to work on my web-safe fonts in my presentation). Overall, this tool is excellent for teachers when students miss class the day of a presentation.

And, there's this thought from Will Richardson:

At the end of a presentation a few days ago with a couple of hundred pen and paper note taking attendees (and the odd laptop user sprinkled here and there) I answered a question about “What do we do now?” by saying “Well, first off, it’s a shame that the collective experience of the people in this room is about to walk off in two hundred different directions without any way to share and reflect on the thinking they’ve been doing all day. Next year, no paper.”

Very well said. Is the point of presentations to be the end-all document, or to facilitate future discussion? I know what the Iowa Professional Development Model would say.

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