About AECT Rountable Presentations

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Note: this is meant for my students, and for first-time presenters at a large convention like AECT.

The Setting

Roundtable presentation sessions at the AECT Convention are fairly informal opportunities to interact with attendees about your project. Roundtable presentations are generally just what they sound like. The setting is a very large open room like a banquet hall at the convention hotel. It is loud, and a bit chaotic. The room is filled with round tables that seat usually eight people. On each table will be a number. When you enter the room (ahead of time), find the person in charge. This person will tell you which numbered table is your table. Go to your table and wait for the session to begin. The roundtable session is usually one hour in duration. There are usually no other AECT sessions scheduled during the roundtable time, so that encourages all attendees to participate in the roundtable sessions.

Typically you will give your "presentation" three times–that is, 20 minutes for each time. A facilitator for the room will announce, every 20 minutes, that attendees can stand up and move to a different table. You as presenter stay at your table. So–you may end up with a full table or an empty table, depending on who is attending and who is interested in your topic. Note — I’m describing past conventions. Future conventions could be different in format, etc.

Usually the poster sessions are also in the same large room at the same time. So there may be people wandering around the perimeter of the room looking at the posters and talking with the poster creators.

There is a lot of “come and go” during the rountable session hour. Some attendees may drop in briefly, or just want to take one of your handouts and read it later. Often, attendees are there to support colleagues, or they may be presenting as well, and may need to be present at a particular table. Don’t take it personally if an attendee doesn’t stay with you the full 20 minutes.

How to Prepare and Present

The roundtable sessions are generally intended and arranged to be discussions. Since you will have usually no more than 20 minutes with a group, you should plan to talk for no more than 5 to 8 minutes or so about your project. Then plan to have a conversation with your attendees and encourage them to ask questions. You will repeat this three times during the hour. Bring or pour some water for yourself. Be prepared to speak loudly and clearly if you want to be heard.

Prepare good, concise answers to these questions. These can also be a guide for your handout.

  1. What is your project? That is, what problem or issue are you addressing?
  2. Why is it important or relevant?
  3. What did you discover?
  4. What does your discovery mean, and for whom, and in what context?
  5. What happens (or should happen) next?

If your project involves something that is visually interesting, you could try to show something on your laptop, but that is difficult to show effectively at a round table. Audio is likely to be ineffective. If your project includes some interesting visual(s), or crucial table or graph, make a large version of it to show and distribute to attendees. You could even create a small (say 18" by 18") poster to display on your table. You’ll need to bring all “props” with you, as all you get from AECT is a table and chairs.

Prepare a one page handout that is a summary of your project, with your contact information, to distribute to attendees. On that handout you should include any relevant links, including a link to the full paper that you have submitted to the AECT proceedings (more about that later). I suggest bringing about 25 copies of the one page summary. Create a short URL for the link to the summary, so you can write it on a business card if needed. Consider bringing a few copies of the full proceedings paper to distribute as well.

Follow Up

Some attendees will want more information, or may not be able to attend your full presentation. So be prepared with plenty of your business cards and your one-page summary with links so that an attendee can easily find you and your project online. If you have a spare moment, review the other roundtable session descriptions, and meet some of your fellow presenters. There are likely potential collaborators and future colleagues in the room that you will benefit from knowing, and vice versa.

Webcast about Presenting

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Today I talked with the IDT GSA about conferences and organizations in our field, and about preparing for and giving professional presentations. Here is the recording of that webcast.

Here are some resources and links that I mentioned.

  1. My list of lists of professional organizations in IDT
  2. My list of lists of professional conferences in IDT
  3. I just added my Google calendar of IDT events to the conferences page. There you can see upcoming events and calls for proposals, and deadlines.
  4. Here is a notef about IDT students presenting at AECT Louisville in 2012, and here are the presentation titles and descriptions.
  5. Other organizations I mentioned for IDT students were: Educause, SITE, AERA, and ISTE. You can find links and descriptions here.

Here is the past year’s call for proposals from AECT. And here is the AECT guide I mentioned about creating better proposals.

About conference participation

How to be a good conference participant. Another similar article here.


Jennifer Maddrell mentioned her interview with me about the IDT program. She mentioned that it had been accessed by 1600 visitors so far, so that was good to hear.

Jennifer’s site: http://designersforlearning.org and here is her contact form.

Publish, Don’t Perish: #AECT Presentation by Reiser, Bannan, Hannafin, Ertmer, and Klein

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Here are the slides from the AECT presentation described below:

Slides from the presentation.zip

The presenters during this session, each of whom has had more than 20 years of experience publishing research papers and editing and/or reviewing manuscripts for leading research journals, will describe a series of tips for how researchers in our field can improve the quality of the research manuscripts they prepare. Common writing errors and suggestions for how to avoid them will be discussed and other strategies for improving the quality of research manuscripts will be described.

Publish, Don’t Perish: Tips for Writing Research Articles and Getting Them Published Robert Reiser, Florida State University; Michael Hannafin, University of Georgia; James Klein, Florida State University; Peg Ertmer, Purdue University; Brenda Bannan, George Mason University.

AECT Keynote by Daniel Willingham

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Daniel Willingham notes, articles and links mentioned.

Does tech influence the brain. yes, but what it means is unclear. The right question is how, and what are the enduring consequences.

Modern technology is changing the way brains work.

Technology Changing How Students Learn, Teachers Say

Why doesn’t ed tech research have more impact?

Argument from authority: “you don’t understand the details, but you recognize me as an authority”.

Why do we accept some authorities and not others?

  1. a reputable body does the vetting. (ex. medical boards)
  2. there is settled truth. (ex. measles diagnosis). Educators perceive that researchers squabble a lot and are not settled on what is true about learning.
  3. the role of the consumer. Teachers are concerned about autonomy. Educators are rightfully leery of surrendering autonomy.

Summary: we expect authority to work but we do not have in place the conditions necessary to speak with authority.

Suggested Solutions:

Institutions (Ex. American Medical Association. Society of Clinical Psychology)

How to Become the Voice of Authority?

1. Clarity. Be clear about:
methods we value
goals we believe are important in education
problems we can address
problems we can’t address

2. Voice — committees, working groups. You get what you pay for. AECT should have a group working on increasing its public voice.

twitter: dtwillingham




Links and articles Malcolm Brown referred to in his AECT Keynote

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Eddie Obeng http://www.ted.com/talks/eddie_obeng_smart_failure_for_a_fast_changing_world.html?quote=1913

Challenge and Change http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/challenge-and-change

Smarterer http://smarterer.com/

College is Dead http://nation.time.com/2012/10/18/college-is-dead-long-live-college/

eTexts at IU http://etexts.iu.edu/

Open Course Library https://sites.google.com/a/sbctc.edu/opencourselibrary/

Seeking evidence of Impact http://www.educause.edu/eli/programs/seeking-evidence-impact

Active Classrooms http://www.classroom.umn.edu/projects/alc.html

Live Design http://livedesignonline.com/resourcecenter/howtos/how_we_did_that_0401/index1.html

Digital Stories at UMBC http://stories.umbc.edu/

Classroom Next http://www.educause.edu/library/resources/classroomnext-engaging-faculty-and-students-learning-space-design