Saturday, July 31, 2010

Connecting with your Audience... Presentation tips

I was extremely fortunate to have participated in an Apple Distinguished Educators (ADE) Summer Institute several weeks ago. One of my favorite professional development sessions was by Michelle Hamilton, a professional speech coach.

Here are some of Michelle's presentation tips:
  • You have 8 seconds to connect with your audience; use eye contact to engage each person for several moments... don't just glance at a person, finish your thought/sentence while only looking at one person (one thought - one pair of eyes).
  • Always think, and say, "you ..." -- try to work in twenty "you"s to one "I." Don't open a presentation saying how glad you are to be here; the presentation is about them, not you ... such as "Today you are here to learn..." not "Today I am going to teach you..."
  • Start with the end in mind; ask your audience what they need to get out of your presentation.
  • Convince: Deliver only 3 main messages. Our brains are wired to remember in odd numbers (3 - 5 - 7, etc). But, stick to 3 key messages and divide your time equally. Focus on what your audience needs to hear or understand.
  • Whatever it is you need to advocate, be compelling, and engaging.
  • Walk around, touch the wall, sit in the audience to gain their perspective.
  • When answering a question, don't just repeat it, or say it's a good question. Elevate the importance by sharing... "I'll bet everyone would like to know...."
  • Turn your closing into a benefit. Don't apologize for "not getting through all of your information" ... rather, "I'm so glad that you could attend today. We could spend a lot more time on...."
Perhaps these few tips will help you to be, as Michelle stated, "incredibly effective" in your presentations, and your classroom.

Digital Divide = "Knows" and "Knows-not"s

I've seen many reports about the existence of a "digital divide" in this country -- often referring to the "haves" and the "have-nots" -- where the "haves" are those possessing digital equipment, and the "have-nots" are, well, those who basically don't.

A recent commentary by Mario Armstrong about the 7/10/2010 Pew Research Report stating the digital divide is closing, suggests that this definition needs to change:

There's much more to the "divide" than having digital stuff. Even in a well-equipped classroom, (with access to modern computers connected to the Internet), the digital divide is more about what teachers and students "know" and "know-not" when it comes to using the technology to improve teaching and learning.

President Bill Clinton's 2000 State of the Union Address proposed a bright future for "knowing" ...
Connecting classrooms and libraries to the Internet is crucial, but it's just a start. My budget ensures that all new teachers are trained to teach 21st century skills and creates technology centers in 1,000 communities to serve adults. This spring, I will invite high-tech leaders to join me on another New Markets tour -- to close the digital divide and open opportunity for all our people. I thank the high-tech companies that are already doing so much in this area and I hope the new tax incentives I have proposed will encourage others to join us.

If we take these steps, we will go a long way toward our goal of bringing opportunity to every community.
It's 2010!
Are we are there yet?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Google Earth for Educators -- New Community!

Are you an educator who wants to use Google Earth in the classroom? Now you can learn all the tips and tricks for using Google Earth as a teaching tool by visiting the new Google Earth for Educators Community. On this site, you can view lesson plans for a variety of grade levels and subjects, discuss Google Earth teaching tactics with fellow educators, see student-created work, and read how other teachers are using Google Earth in the classroom.