Random Thoughts

Preparing for November

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My wife left early this morning for Hawaii. I know…completely lost on her. From Bangkok to Hawaii…..

She’s off to visit a friend, one of the benefits of taking a year off from working and having frequent flier miles to spend.

So that leaves me with a week of no school and time to myself to prepare for what has shaped up to be one heck of a busy November.

Nov. 1-4: EARCOS Admin Conference

Nov. 7-9: Jakarta Weekend Workshop: Learning in a Digital World

Nov. 21-22: United Nations International School of Hanoi

This week I’ll be creating my presentations and focusing in on what my message will be.

I’ll be pulling a lot from Presentation Zen. If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it. It just might change the way you teach. Also, make sure you subscribe to the Presentation Zen blog. It’s one of those books that simplifies the process down to something that just works. In fact Garr Reynold’s simple idea of going off line to plan your presentation has completely focused my presentations the way I want. I spent about 3 hours on Sunday sitting outside on the balcony outlining the four presentations for EARCOS in my notebook. It took me 2 hours to outline the four presentations. Now the fun part of just putting them together.

This book has quickly made the rounds at our school. I loaned it to Kim Cofino after I finished reading it right before Learning 2.008. She got such great feedback on her presentations that she ended up holding a whole unconference session around Presentation Zen.

The book has made the rounds at school as well, and our school just ordered four more copies of it. The best use by far has been watching a couple teachers use the technique as a way to present information in their classes and have all given feedback on how well the students liked the format, were engaged, and attentive.

It’s not a hard format, actually….it’s quite simple, and Garr does a great job of explaining the process that one should follow. A process I now use.

As I’ve been working through my presentations I keep coming back to a common theme of communication. On how technology and the Internet really boils down to allowing us to communicate in new ways. As I was doing some research yesterday I found this article from Wired.

Home Sweet Office: Telecommute Good for Business, Employees, and Planet

Last year, researchers from Penn State analyzed 46 studies of telecommuting conducted over two decades and covering almost 13,000 employees. Their sweeping inquiry concluded that working from home has “favorable effects on perceived autonomy, work-family conflict, job satisfaction, performance, turnover intent, and stress.” The only demonstrable drawback is a slight fraying of the relationships between telecommuters and their colleagues back at headquarters — largely because of jealousy on the part of the latter group.

It’s a great article and as I read it I kept coming back to the same question:

How does this change the way we communicate?

Are we preparing students to communicate and work in this way?

Is this the future/solution to smog, oil prices, commute times?

I have a feeling this research will be making an appearance somewhere in November. 🙂

I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Thanks for posting the information about the workshop in Jakarta. I’ll see if I can get my old school to send someone. They now have some tech tools to use – they just need to learn how and why to use them. Sounds like the workshop could answer those questions.

  2. Hello!!

    November is a busy month for me too – several conferences in my backpack as well.

    And Kim has showed me presentation zen as well — so the ripple continues.

    Appreciate our network, how we help each other out, support each other, and keep in touch of upcoming events.

    You shall be in my thoughts and prayers as you hit the whirlwind of November.

    I have no doubt you will look back at the end of the month with the feeling of a job well done — exhaustively satisfied!!


  3. I will check out that book for sure. I wonder if my school will allow me some professional development time out for some of these conferences next academic year! I am planning to be working in a school in Saigon.

  4. sitting in a lecture at uni – on how the digital culture is changing education – wish this presenter would go out and read presentation zen… nothing like practicing what you preach. Wish that my school would let me out so much. Learning 2.008 was it for me this year… does the Jakarta conference have a ning??

  5. Wow! Do you get to do any work at your school at all?
    Traveling all over must play havoc on actually administrating educational technology matters during your normal working hours.

  6. I have really changed how I use visual information based on the Presentation Zen approach. It first started after watching Dean Shareski’s k12onlineconference07 presentation on Design Matters. From there I watched Death by Powerpoint and started reading Garr Reynold’s blog. What a difference it has made! On the flip side, it is so hard to sit through conferences when the presentations are filled with powerpoints that are text and bullet heavy! Just yesterday I was at a conference on Autism…the key to working with students on the autism spectrum is to provide visual information…words do not have the same meaning to them. How do you think many presenters chose to offer information? That’s right! Lots of text and bullets that they simple read….

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