Demystifying Active Learning - A presentation in a format new to me.
I recently presented at the Conference for Teaching and Learning (CoTL) held by the University of South Alabama located in Mobile, Alabama. This presentation was a first for me in two regards: (1) the presentations was online via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and (2) the presentation was in pecha kucha style, a presentation with exactly 20 slides that each auto-advance after 20 seconds. The style presented me with the challenge of time, since the material I had planned to present had taken me 20 minutes to present at a previous conference.
To meet this challenge, I wrote a script for each slide for what I would say for each slide, word for word. I then practiced the script diligently on my own. I even presented it to my Advisor for critique and then edited the script and presentation to reflect her comments. I finally felt ready.
The conference allotted 40 minutes of time for four pecha kucha presentations. This allowed for all four of the presenters their time to speak, followed by time for questions from the audience. As I was slated to go third, there were two presentations I watched prior to mine. I quickly realized the pace at which they were talking was very natural and easy to follow. I grew concerned, since my planned script packed a lot of information into a slim amount of time. I began to worry I would sound rushed.
As I started to present, I found I felt rushed. At the end of some slides, I had to catch my breath. I swore other people would be able to hear it. I thought to myself, okay, surely I can get through the next six minutes this way. I did make it through the presentation, and, a few days after the conference, my recorded presentation was posted to the conference website. I gave myself a few days of room before I watched it, so I could truly take it in without hurting my ego.
As I started watching it, I thought about every mistake I thought I had made, and I found that, while the presentation wasn't perfect, it wasn't as bad as I had thought it was. After viewing the presentation, I realized that in the future I should (1) slow down, (2) relax, (3) have fun, and (4) make more eye contact. To help reach those goals in the future, I plan to concentrate more on the main, crucial points of the research I present. Then I can give better, more engaging presentations that allow for any audience members to understand my research more deeply. This was a good lesson to learn, especially early in my career.
For the recorded presentation, please click here. See below for a screenshot of the presentation title slide.