A speaker proposal form for the upcoming ETAI conference has been sitting in my inbox for over a week.
I don’t know what to write on it.
In the past I presented at many conferences. It was my chance to share the things that were on my mind, the projects I was working on or materials I had created. I usually attended one a year (occasionally two) so I basically had a whole school year’s worth of experience to use for my talk. Very few of the people I met on a daily basis were interested in what I was doing so these opportunities were meaningful.
Now everything flows directly from my classroom to my blog (successes and failures).
Don’t get me wrong! I am under no illusion that everyone who attends our conferences reads my blog, far from it! But consider these examples:
* I thought of a talk presenting ideas for using short videos without dialogues. That’s something I am very involved in. However, all the videos I have created activities for are up on the blog and have had a lot of hits from viewers from Israel. I assume that teachers who could use these activities in class have access to computers and are more “tech minded”. These teachers are usually the ones who would have seen my postings on our mailing list.
The solution would be, of course, to offer some new video-activities, and create a mix of old and new. Unfortunately, I don’t create “on demand”. When I find something that fits in with what I need at a particular time, I create, try out in class and then share. I don’t know if I will be creating any (or how many) video-activities before April.
* The link to my COMPLETE presentation at RSCON4 conference, on the topic of homework as a tool for individualizing learning for struggling teens and adult,s is available at the conference website (linked to from my blog). The term “complete” means that not only is the slideshow there, you can hear the entire talk. In addition, homework is a “less” powerful tool when you have (as many of my colleagues at the conference do) 5 classes of 40 students per class. The underlying power of the system is based on the assumption that the teacher actually checks the tasks. Even when they are created “properly” (as in “easy to check”) this is no simple matter with very large classes. I did it for three courses, (ONE course at a time!) when I taught adult classes of 38 students and it was demanding indeed. So I rejected this topic too.
To make a long story short, all my presentations from recent years (including the ones in Hebrew!) can be found online.
Perhaps I should forget about presenting for now. My blog lets me share all year around, 24/7. I”ll just go to the conference, enjoy some lectures and volunteer at the registration desk.