George Siemens presented today at LearnTrends 2009 on “Finding New Points of Balance”. In his presentation, which was attended by 120 participants on average, he employed a very nice online presenter technique. He offered (almost) empty slides encouraging participants to drop their ideas on them and thus engaging in the presentation more than just through the backchannel.

I had already seen that others had done this before. Recently, Dave Cormier wrote a good post on this method that he also tried for one of his presentations with great success entitled “Presenting with live slides“.

This technique is great to interact more with participants and to bring in their voice. Of course, one could use the backchannel or the audio chat. However, by putting everything on a slide, the contributions become part of the presentation visuals, and the presenter can use the ideas more easily than if he had to sift through the chat log which can move rather quickly with a large group.

The slides that George provided were filled quickly because he had approx. 120 other minds chiming in and bringing ideas forth.

In a way, this session showed that online conference sessions can be more engaging than f2f conference sessions because everybody can participate at any time by using the backchannel without interrupting the speaker. By offering a white slide for putting down ideas, people will do so actively and I had the feeling more willingly than in an auditorium where we would have had to raise our hands and shout our ideas to the podium where the speaker may not even have heard them. It was also suggested that the nature of the writing on the whiteboard assisted the involvement as it was anonymous.

One slide from Georges slide deck on which we participants put down our ideas on the continuum of using online tools for learning.
One slide from George's slide deck on which we participants put down our ideas on the continuum of using online tools for learning.

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4 thoughts on “Participants’ participation in an online conference

  1. Kristina, this is a good description of the interaction between G. Siemens and Learntrends session attendees.

    Great to find the blue PLE on the middle/right of slide. It was me who wrote it!!

    Feedback Twitter Back channel:

    dmccraine: Wow! What a great discussion at #learntrends 09! i want to be George Siemens!

    cynan_sez: Very intrigued to have 130 people writing on a whiteboard all at once at #learntrends … and amazingly, it didn’t suck

    chambo_online: .@gsiemens – opens the whiteboard up to let participants create the agenda…whoa! crazy fun! #learntrends

    minutebio: #learntrends exercise made me think and participate. Not be a passive learner and that is great. Thanks

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