All the World’s a Stage: Learning 2 Present

Posted: September 28, 2014 in Course 3
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

As the day of reckoning draws close I am living, breathing and positively obsessing about my presentation for Learning 2 in Bangkok.

Photo Credit: CODYody via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: CODYody via Compfight cc

As I mentioned last week in The Power of Visuals, I am preparing to present a 5 minute Keynote at Learning 2.014 and it is taking every waking hour to tweak and change each aspect of the presentation; from twiddling with animations and transitions to reworking the beginning and ending. I wonder if some people may be asleep during the middle part having enjoyed far too good a night before, so I must ensure I wake them up at the end to hear my closing words of wisdom!

I will make this post short, or at least shorter than normal, and without visual note for the first time in this course, to allow me to put all my thoughts and hours into preparing for not only the presentation but the conference sessions as well.

As I was preparing my self mentally, I think back to when I have had to present publicly in the past and how nerve wracking it is. How does one calm themselves so the nerves dissipate? How do we remember what we have to say without it appearing too scripted? And how on earth do I sleep the night before?!

Photo Credit: mattyeo via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: mattyeo via Compfight cc

I do not recall speaking on stage as a child, apart from the random appearance as an Oompalumpa or the dormouse in Alice in Wonderland, but certainly never a major part – I just could never remember lines. As a dancer I was more than happy performing on stage and nerves as a teenager seemed less in this role. Now, as a teacher, we “perform” daily to our classes, but with prompts and interactions and in a friendly relaxed situation.

I would dread interviews despite hours of planning and preparing, and more often than not I survived, sometimes even feeling proud of my “performance”. So why does this feel so BIG?!

I wonder if it is that for the past 3 years I have watched and marvelled at the calm demeanour and inspirational approaches by the likes of Patrick Green (The Relevant Teacher) and Paula Guinto (Ink) at the Learning 2 Talks. I remember the first L2 conference I attended back in 2011 in Shanghai and the naturalness that oozed from Kim Cofino, and Jabiz Raisdana, from whom I learnt so much and who helped to shape my ideas and direction following that very first conference. George and Alec Couros seemed to revel in their time on stage, dare I say loving it, a thought so far removed from me right now I am intrigued to know how to develop it! The bar is set so high that I dread letting myself down, yet I know I have an important message to share and something that I believe in.

The first major presentation I made in recent years was for my application to the Apple Distinguished Educator programme back in 2012, and I remember spending hours trying to work on incorporating and demonstrating the way I used technology in art. I look back now and see the clumsiness in places and the music not CC, but at the time it showed my style and my developing style as an educator fusing traditional with the new. I know it packs far too much in and whizzes far too fast in places but I wanted to show the breadth of my work. For a presentation that had to be under 2 minutes I spent way too much time on it, but I guess I will never learn!

The last time I had to present to a panel was last April at an interview in my school for Head of Grade. We had to prepare a presentation on “How would you reassure parents that we meet the needs of our Middle School students?” with the audience being the parent body. As always I prepared scrupulously to determine my own take on the content and how to put it across. I wanted to use a zen technique and Haiku Deck fitted the bill. The slides that took the most time were the slides showing the child/parent and Head of Grade where I used existing a teacher who was a parent of a daughter in Grade 7 and the existing (soon to retire) Head of Grade. I asked them to pose for me so that I could blur out each one in turn on an app called Adjust Focus to emphasise the subject. All the images were my own, school taken or Creative Commons. Here is the finished presentation that I presented live in the interview (this is a recorded version):


I liken the experience of presenting to karaoke.

Photo Credit: apdk via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: apdk via Compfight cc

I am not the world’s best or worst singer but when you see others enjoying it you want to join in too! When it comes to the crunch, you take the mic and start tentatively, finding your way through your nerves and before you know it you are singing. Before the song ends you have forgotten how bad you thought you were and just enjoyed the moment.

Could the talk be similar to this? I will definitely not sing, that is for sure, but I hope that I will at least enjoy it, having taken that step to share my story. The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding!

I leave the judgement of this unit therefore, up to you, the viewers.

Wish me luck!

Photo Credit: sarahluv via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: sarahluv via Compfight cc

  1. Matt McGrady says:

    Nicki – I wish I could be there to watch you live – I am sure you will do incredibly well.

  2. Nikki,
    I would be the same as you. Stressed beyond belief. I am not sure if my words will help you at all but I know you will be awesome. From what I know of you thus far, you seem to be a perfectionist which means you have been working your ass off for this 5 min presentation. You will rock it. You are so full of knowledge it would be a shame for you not to share it with everyone. Safe travels. I am already here, having a few days by myself to catch up on work, get massages and eat!!! See you Thursday evening.

  3. Andrea Khambalia says:

    Nicki, your work is inspirational! Really wish I could be there. Best of luck!

    • Nicki Hambleton says:

      Thank you so much, that is such a kind thing to say. I have a feeling that the talk will be on youtube (not that I would want to watch it!) and i’ll post the link when and if that happens! I was thinking for this assignment to record my voice over the slideshow anyway – would that work?!

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