You Can’t Just Hand a Microphone to Anybody.

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I spent my weekend at a convention. Actually, I shouldn’t use the word weekend because that implies restful time away from my job.

But all is not lost as Thanksgiving Break is right around the corner. And I might add that it comes at a perfect time.

It was a stroke of genius when our early settlers decided that schools needed to take time off in late November.Not the Microphone from School... but This One is Pretty Cool.

As a kid, I had no idea that the Pilgrims were so well-versed on the academic calendar. I thought they were simply people who looked good in hats, enjoyed big meals, and loved their football (and by football, I don’t mean the Detroit Lions).

While I am tired, I did learn a few things at the convention.

I learned that I miss my bed, refrigerator, and shower.

In the past I have talked about the horrors of hotels, so I won’t bore you with the details of sleeping in a bed that has previously been “occupied” by thousands of strangers (I am sure some were more strange than others, but I try not to focus on that little tidbit of information).

But missing my refrigerator and shower are different. These are issues that need to be addressed.

I mean I really missed them.

It amazes me that people can eat out all the time. After a couple of days, I find myself just wanting an apple or a sandwich. Or 27 Oreos, but that discussion is for a different day.

Also, the showers in hotel rooms continue to be a riddle to me. Why do they always run out of hot water? Don’t hotels realize a large number of guests will be bathing between 6:00 and 8:00 a.m.?

It is like they are surprised. Like we snuck up on them. They must know we are all going to wake up at some point and wander into the bathroom.

But, these are minor inconveniences as I attended the convention to learn. Specifically, I was hopeful to pick up some new information about technology for my school.

It didn’t happen, but I feel like I did my part. I showed up. Which for a lot of convention attendees seems to be a challenge.

Educators always say they want to go to conventions and then once they arrive they work so hard at not attending workshops. Why is that?

Maybe they should hold these events in North Dakota instead of nicer places (let the emails from North Dakota commence…).

Actually, I wish the presenters had showed up.

Actually, that is a little harsh. They were there and they did their best.

It’s just that they presented the same information I have heard over and over for the last few years.

Our students are farther advanced in technology than adults. Educators should allow cell phones in schools because they are mini-computers. We should use Skype because it is free (we do and yes it is). Schools need to be proactive, not reactive to changes in technology.

I get it.

Enough already.

I need tips or strategies to implement technology and not the same old rehashed PowerPoint presentation with 187 slides (by the way… I can read, so you don’t have to pronounce every word on every single slide for me).

If I seem angry that is because I am (see: not sleeping in own bed and haven’t had a decent cookie in days not to mention the dodging of so many PowerPoint bullets).

I know we are falling behind with technology in schools, but now I am convinced we may be falling behind in presenters.

Just because someone is willing to talk into a microphone doesn’t mean we should allow them (see: President George Bush… let the emails from North Dakota Republicans commence…).

Not everyone talking into a microphone is an expert.

Point in case: a new principal handing the mic to a sophomore on the football team during a prep rally. Bad idea.

Really bad idea.

I would like to comment further on this, but once again a court order prevents me.

Same goes for presenters. We need to be more careful as to whom we allow to use the microphone.

Just because someone has a snappy title for the presentation, doesn’t mean their information is timely and high quality.

Could it be possible they are just there to pad their resumes? Which for the record, I am all for… just not on my time (note to self… update resume on someone else’s time).

I don’t mean to sound ungrateful for their efforts because I am sure they spent a great deal of time putting their PowerPoint together (after all 187 slides just don’t just write themselves… especially if each one has 97 words in a really small font…did I mention the bullets?).

Plus, they had to spend several minutes downloading the “Did You Know” video off of YouTube.

Great video, but is there anyone involved in education who hasn’t seen it? And by seen it, I mean at least 10 times.

I think we have to be more particular to whom we listen regarding issues in education.

If we aren’t careful, soon everyone will have a platform. People will be just throwing out ideas with no rhyme or reason.

Trust me, this could get bad.

The government will start coming up with half thought ideas about testing, administrators will begin to think that their every thought is ingenious, and maybe… just maybe people will start up their own blogs just to shove their ideas down our throats.

These people will believe they are experts just because they have an audience.

I am not sure I like where this is heading.

But oh well, I have problems of my own.

I have a blog to finish, then I need to wrap up a PowerPoint.

Only 186 slides to go.

I am thinking about using lots of clip art, hundreds of bullets, and a bunch of transition sounds.

Wait a second.

It just occurred to me. I’m an expert.

I may need business cards and a manager.

And of course, I am going to need a microphone.

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7 Responses to “You Can’t Just Hand a Microphone to Anybody.”


  1. Paul V8
    on Nov 24th, 2008
    @ 4:30 am

    Perhaps the microphones could be given but with the sound turned off? Then people would see the overwrought slides and leave with the same information without listening to someone read.
    What’s even worse is when they read their slides *and* give each attendee a printed copy of the glorious slides.


  2. Jen
    on Nov 24th, 2008
    @ 8:30 am

    If you give a mouse a cookie…

    If you give a teacher presenter/principal/consultant a microphone…

    Do you read Dy/Dan — http://blog.mrmeyer.com/ –?

    If you head down to the tags part, you can read his tech contrarianism and design stuff and all. Good stuff.

    How is it that anyone can have sat through a powerpoint and not know that if you present you should NOT just be reading bullet points to your audience? How how how? Is it like some sort of hazing?


  3. Marilyn
    on Nov 24th, 2008
    @ 8:58 am

    Great post. Have you seen the YouTube video about How Not to use PowerPoint? – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cagxPlVqrtM


  4. Tim
    on Nov 24th, 2008
    @ 4:11 pm

    http://www.presentationzen.com/ –Some of the posts on this site have really changed the way I think about using Powerpoint, and really how I present to people in general.

    @Jen- I concur, Dan Meyer’s Blog is worthy of a looksie. Also, it’s not only reading, but turning their back to the audience to read from the screen. Makes me want to shoot spitwads…


  5. Michelle Bourgeois
    on Nov 24th, 2008
    @ 7:18 pm

    You know what the worst part is? What you see on the stage is sometimes much better than what you see in the classroom every day.
    My favorite presentations blend a little big picture thinking with practical advice and classroom examples. It does no good to talk about what should happen if you can’t show how you’re making it happen.
    I’m prepping for my next big preso right now which will be on PLNs at FETC in January. Here’s hoping I can leave my audience with what they came looking for.


  6. Ludmilla
    on Nov 25th, 2008
    @ 8:07 am

    I have just been at a big national conference of University and College professors and realized — DO NOT ASSUME they know what you are going to present! Out of probably 30 faculty present at my session — no one has seen “Did you know?” or “Pay Attention” videos. Very few knew what wiki, Moodle or other web 2.0 tools were and that they were available for teachers for free. I would think we should be patient and not arrogant while spreading the word about new technologies among teachers.

    Ludmilla


  7. So You Want to be a Big-Time Blogger? | PrincipalsPage The Blog
    on Jun 14th, 2009
    @ 6:18 pm

    [...] Are you just an idiot? [...]

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