Realizing your lesson is going bad is horrible, but it is really magnified in a room full of professional educators. I was in the second of back to back sessions at the Joplin Technology Summit last Friday when I looked up and realized I had lost my audience. It wasn't as though I was surprised, I knew I was foundering. My train of thought had left me at an unknown station and there was no way I was going to be able to catch up on my tired legs.
It isn't as though I didn't know what I was talking about. I am the expert in #Comments4Kids. I was there from its very beginning. I created the Comments4Kids blog. I have even shared (much more successfully) the same presentation at the Midwest Educational Technology Conference two years ago. I know this stuff. What I didn't do, is prepare the lesson as though I wasn't an expert (or more importantly that my audience weren't experts.)
I had just completed a very successful session on blogging using Kidblog.org. I built background by discussing blogging. I kept the particpants actively engaged by doing peer sharing and even at one point having them get up and change seats just to give their brains a quick break. It was exactly what I had planned it to be. I wish I had planned the second session the same way.
I jumped straight into commenting without building background on blogging. I realized my mistake almost immediately and tried to correct it, but I think it was too late. Because I made assumptions about who would attend the session, I my design was poor and I became as lost as the crowd.
As I reflect on it, I realize that I trusted too much on my knowledge of the content. I thought because I was an expert on commenting I didn't need to spend much time planning and it really showed. I'm glad I had the opportunity to reflect on it afterwards so that I can strive to not make the same mistake again.
Here is an article published on the Joplin Globe website about the Technology Summit. I am pleased that someone got something positive out of the session.