Blog Pile

They Shoot Lectures, Don’t They?

Don’t be confused by a stretched attempt to create a clever title, tilting back to the 1969 movie by Sydney Pollack. And I am not advocating violence…

For a fun romp, see what else pops up on Google for this search:

* They Shoot Horses but Vaccinate Dogs Immune deficiency diseases in animals – are they caused by vaccination?
* They Shoot Horses Do Not They? a hillbilly art rock band from Vancouver.
* They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? an abortion article in the Minneapolis/St. Paul City Pages

I wander way off point, as Google prompts me to do.

But back to where I started. Tomorrow is our big technology extravaganza, our Ocotillo Retreat 2005: Lost in Technology and we cleared 215 in online reservations.

What I do not get is how people cannot see past the mode of lecture as presentation for professional sharing. Despite our clear indication on the proposal web forms, and several email confirmations of the format, I have had at least two people back out of doing an “open demo”- our name for what is a poster(less) presentation (people providing informal demos to interested people in an open computing lab) because “I was planning to do a presentation format”. This translates to “I was planning on droning on and on to a captive audience” rather than having a conversational, unplanned exchange.

It’s too bad as we have done these many times in the past, and it is much more energy in the room, and participants can gain more from picking the topics and people that interest them by going to the informal demo rather than sit trapped through a fixed presentation in a classroom. And in a stretch, it is much more like the gulf of distance between getting your current information via RSS (pull what is interested) rather than push (wait for what someone thinks should interest you).

I am hoping tomorrow we will shed some more light on this approach to sharing projects and ideas, and bend people away from the paradigm of presentation as lecture. For the upcoming academic year, I am hoping to avoid going to conferences where the lecture is the primary mode of communication.

Ready…. aim…..

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Alan,
    Okay, I’ll admit it should have occurred to me before, but it hadn’t. It took your quote…

    “it is much more like the gulf of distance between getting your current information via RSS (pull what is interested) rather than push (wait for what someone thinks should interest you).”

    for me to identify why I love this time of year. Today until 5 pm my lab was full of students working on projects for other teachers. For the most part, they worked independent of my assistance. But every now and then, they’d search me out because they had something in mind they wanted to do and couldn’t figure it out. They were pulling instead of me pushing. Duh!

    And that was the difference between the ineffective professional development I provided other years versus the sessions that worked this year– I’d finally developed a just-in-time format, so the staff was pulling it instead of me pushing it.

    Now I need to go chew on this tasty bone you’ve thrown me — and figure out where else in my job I’m pushing information instead of setting up situations in which it is pulled. Thanks for getting me thinking.

  2. OOOh So Good!

    Now that line about ‘droning on and on’ to a captive audience .. LOVE IT! Well put and very true. I’ve been working in the edu and com worlds for nye onto 35 years now and immerse in the ways of ‘eTech’ since the late ’80s. I really don’t know what it will take – other than a massive die-off of my own age bracket to set the stage for real aoption to the use of non-lecture, non-spooning, non-boring presentations. Whatever happened to the good old days of the carnival barker? The optimum vision here is extemporaneous: ie,

    “Skilled at or given to unrehearsed speech or performance: an accomplished extemporaneous speaker.”

    (courtesy Houghton-Mifflin’s ‘American Heritage Dictonary of the Engligh Language – 4th Ed.)

    You do not need to ‘capture’ an audience when you KNOW your subject .. they will ‘shackel themselves’ to your delivery. It’s contageous …

    Thanks again .. keep ‘barkin’


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