I am in the one month scramble the jets mode to get ready for my Australian tour where I hope to avoid any street protesters nor tangle up anyone’s traffic with my motorcade.
I had put some thought around how to do a Web 2.0 workshop that is not the typical ed-tech geek approach of spraying the audience with a huge firehose of “cool stuff”, and hope they are still standing, breathing when it is done. My thought was to avoid hitting them with what I call the “Laundry List”, and got a great response when I previously asked for suggestions if I were to demo something less of a blast ray effect. So my aim was smaller, hoping for Small, Precious Web 2.0 Gems.
Heck, that was one of the most commented posts I ever did, and I picked up at least 5 new tools that had slid under my radar. So when I sat down to carve out the workshop materials on my wiki site, I realized I had more or less made up… another laundry list. Well, I had added some linked examples of things down with the tools, and quotes from the people who nominated them to hint at their possible use. I added a few of my selections of pet favorite tools
But it was basically a list.
In trying to avoid a laundry list, I had fallen into making one. Sigh.
So I tried a slight tweak. In the first draft, out of lack of any other reason, I had listed the ones in alphabetical order, which has in actuality, no real meaning. So I shuffled the desck, and tried to make some grouping more around function, Creating Visuals, Brainstorming, Contributing Content, Finding/Organizing Media, Communicate/Organize/Be Productive.
It feels a little better- the materials have now an Introduction, the Starter List (the meat of the workshop), and a set of More Places to Look. While this is loaded in a wiki, my approach for using a wiki here is these are the final materials, so I remain sole author on the wiki. When I ask people to contribute (e.g. to record their efforts), I send them to a second, open wiki, where they can create pages to add notes. This way, after the workshop, I can harvest the open wiki by combing through the recent changes.
To avoid the lag/hassle of having people create accounts in these sites, I have created a user name (and will share the password at the workshop), so people can jump right in.
And just for grins, I have tagged in delicious all the tools I listed as webgems – http://del.icio.us/tag/webgems. This is rather coy, since in Tasmania, this web gem workshop will follow one on using tagging for organizing info. So if you want to toss a few more items on the laundry list, just tag ’em.
My goal is NOT to turn everyone into Web 2.0 Zombie Zealots, nor to say these are the things that will Make Your Life Better or Turn Your Students into Wide Eyed Learners… I am looking for that sweet spot, that magical moment, Curly’s “find that ONE thing” when someone in a workshop does something that is of perhaps small, but tangible, light bulb turning on value for them. It’s why I always include Spell With Flickr. It’s rather simple but does something with almost immediate eye ball widening joy.
And a larger goal is not to promote a tool for the sake of a tool, but if say, you spend some time interacting with a tool like gliffy (which I do think is spiffy). I am not claimng you must use such a tool, but while doing so, to implant in the back of your mind, the affordances it offers in terms of interface, connectivity to other tools, abilities to enable collaboration.
I am packing in my suitcase my worries about just coming all the way over the Pacific with a bag of hammers and powertools, when all are readily available in Australia. It’s always a bit of a guessing game to know where the audience’s interests, experiences are located. And if all fails, just yuck it up and let them have some fun.
The best thing in doing this, as more often than not, the presenter ends up learning a lot more than expected. From my feedback I came across Bubbl for brainstorming diagrams, Scribd for open document sharing (though a lot of less than showcase documents are in there), and while I knew of, and loved the name of Remember The Milk, it was the first time I had played RTM. It’s slick.
So I am hopeful this workshop is in the can, cause I have a bunch more to crank out.