Preparing for our Annual Conference: Tips for Presenting Online

This year, November 12-17, will be the first time iEARN’s annual International Teacher Conference and Youth Summit will be free and online thanks to our partnership with the Global Education Conference. We’re excited about this unique opportunity to bring together more educators and students from around the world to share how they are using global collaborative projects and the impact it is having.

The call for presentations is open now until October 15, 2012.

If you’re new to presenting online the experience might seem quite daunting. We don’t want this to stop you from sharing your experiences, so below are some tips for presenting online, with input from some expert iEARN presenters.

Plan your presentation

As with all presentations, whether online or face-to-face, planning your message is extremely important. Take some time to think about what inspires you about global education, the work you do, what information you can share, what information you’d still like to learn from others, then start to outline your points.  You may want to script out your whole presentation first, but make sure you aim for a list of the main points for the actual presentation so that you don’t sound scripted (an audience can tell!) Then go through your presentation as if you’re live. You’ll be comfortable with you presentation, know it’s flow and can check that you’re sticking to the time length you proposed. For this conference, presentations don’t have to be an hour. You can choose between 20, 30, 45  or 60 minutes. Sometimes a more powerful presentation is a concise 20 minutes, as opposed to one straining to keep the audience engaged for a longer time.

Make it Engaging

“Remember to get your audience to interact and participate. Otherwise they will be multitasking and surfing the web”, says Freda Goodman, facilitator of the Future Citizen project. Unfortunately we have all sat through a presentation (or more!) that didn’t engage us. With online presentations it’s far too easy for the audience to get distracted without being visible to the presenter.  Jim Carleton, iEARN-Canada Country coordinator and Adobe Youth Voices Educator, shares some tips for making your presentation lively:

  1. Introduce yourself. If you want to share your webcam, only do so in the beginning for a brief period. This will allow others to make that connection with you. Then turn off sharing your webcam to conserve bandwidth. Alternatively, if you are comfortable with it, share a picture (and some information about yourself) in the beginning. This creates a bit of a personal connection. Remember that it is a global audience, so they will be fascinated to know a little about you.
  1. Use as little text as possible in favour of images and video. Be sure to compress the video as much as possible for low bandwidth users
  2. Try to engage audience by asking them to respond to questions in chat box, via polls, raising virtual hands (*Pre-conference there will be live trainings for presenters to learn how to use these and other tools.)
  3. Be enthusiastic”

Consider your Global Audience

This is a global conference. Presentations will be conducted in several world languages, but mostly in English, which may not be the first language for some participants attending your session, “Keep the presentation simple and remember to talk slowly for non-native speakers. Also, always keep a smile because the voice will show it.” – Claudia Batista, educator and Adobe Youth Voices Program Facilitator from Brazil

Involve your students

Global Education audiences love to hear from students themselves where possible. Think of ways you can involve your students in your presentation; sharing their work (live or in a pre-recorded format) or helping you develop your presentation.  They could even lead the session and introduce you!

Remember also to encourage your students to register and participate in the Youth Summit  (proposal deadline is also October 15th) to lead their own presentations, participate in the Culture Show and iEARN’s Got Talent.

Get to know the presentation platform

A huge part of feeling at ease presenting online is a being comfortable with how the presentation platform works, how each session will be conducted, and ways you can troubleshoot any issues that might arise.

In the weeks before the conference, iEARN and GEC will be hosting webinars to help you get acquainted with Blackboard Collaborate, the online presentation platform that we’ll be using for week long conference. Check the conference website, iEARN website and Newsletter for information on dates.

Attend other sessions and presentations

Once the full conference schedule is posted online, go through and highlight presentations and sessions you want to attend. Being genuinely and actively engaged in the work of others is an important part of our global community. You’ll not only meet peers and potential project partners from around the world, but you may also pick up some tips and ideas for your next presentation!

If you have more tips to share about presenting online join us in the iEARN teachers forum.

We look forward to seeing your presentation proposal!

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