Twenty minutes is not a lot of time to get a concept across to an unfamiliar audience. Well, that was my job this morning as a presenter at the EChO (Early Childhood Organisation) Expo down at the Education Development Centre here in Adelaide. It was a half day event with the theme, "What's out there?" There were displays from the Multicultural Centre, speech pathology services, book sellers, Monarto Zoo and the Investigator Science Centre and I was invited to do 2 x 20 minute presentations on interactive whiteboards by one of the committee organisers, Suzanne, a JP teacher at my school and one of our ActivBoard teachers.
Had to set up yesterday afternoon with Brad Lewis, sales rep from Commander (Aussie distributors for ActivBoard) who brought along one of the 78 " boards to use for the demo. After we had finished, Brad had to go and I rearranged the furniture in the conference room to suit my presentation. I was lugging the last table out of the way when I was "chatted" by a security guard. He informed me that for Occ. Health and Safety reasons I wasn't meant to touch the furniture configuration. There were people employed to "set" furniture themes and if you wanted it changed, there would be a $25 fee! It was a bit late for any changing back and the conversation left me both a bit embarrassed and annoyed. Here I am, a DECS employee getting organised for a professional learning event in a DECS site on my own time and moving around a few chairs is a big deal! I was amazed that it was even an issue.
As far as my presentations went, well as usual I over prepared with too much emphasis on describing context when most educators just wanted to know how the whole thing worked. Some still had never seen an IWB in action and were totally amazed by the board's capabilities. I tried to focus on showing activities relevant to early childhood - alphabet jigsaws, simple fraction blocks, grouping like objects, CD-ROM games - and hopefully it hit the mark in raising awareness and further interest. I hope I get some feedback on my presentation skills - this is certainly an area I would like to get better at.
This is me in action - I promise you there was an audience just out of shot.