It is that time of the year when we as educators start looking at which conferences we are going to attend this year and planning our conference travels. We often have to choose carefully because unless you have a large grant or are independently wealthy, you can usually only afford to go to a couple per year. When choosing a conference, I will I do look at the venue location because of course you want to try to bake some fun into your travels. However, what I look at primarily is what knowledge will I gain from this conference?
There is nothing more exciting than anticipating a good conference (yes I am sure there can be more exciting things but just go with it for now please); and there can be nothing more disappointing than a bad conference presentation.
After reading an article today titled “We Know You Can Read. So Can We” (http://chronicle.com/article/We-Know-You-Can-Read-So-Can/136607/?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en), I was reminded of some of the disappointing conferences I have attended in the past, even though the listed topics were spectacular. I was also reminded of a time when I presented with other people on a panel, but did not review their presentations beforehand, and as a result, many people left the presentation before it was my turn to present. I should have insisted I go first!
Always assume your audience is well informed, always assume they can read, and assume that they are interested in the little nuances of your topic. They come to hear and experience the things that cannot be put on paper. Have you ever watched some of the TED talks presentations? There is a reason why they are so popular (http://www.ted.com/), they are for the most part very inspiring.
A good conference can energize an educator, then that educator will take that energy back to work and the energy will spread to others. Let us have a great year of conferences and be ready to inspire each other!
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III