This netcast is coming to you a day early. I usually record these things on Monday afternoons, but tomorrow afternoon I'll be presenting a workshop on blogging so I don't know if I'll have both the time and the energy to record this then.
I am hoping to get the audio from tomorrow's workshop up on my site as well, but chances are that if you're listening to this now you won't be getting any new information from that clip. It'll mostly be there for blogging newbies - both those who can attend the workshop and those who can't.
I have to say that I really like workshops - whether I'm presenting or simply attending, there are good times to be had. Forgetting the fact that presenters usually get to attend conferences for free, workshops are one of the best methods for professional development. Why? Because you know everyone in the room is honestly interested in the content being provided. The presenter is, obviously (Why else would so many of us give up our time this Saturday for the Powering Up With Technology Conference?), and if any of the attendees aren't interested you know what they often do?
With so many workshops happening simultaneously, the downside is that you often can't see everything you want - but the upside is that if the workshop doesn't seem useful to you you can always go to your second or third choice. Don't feel bad about walking out - chances are that someone else will walk in and take your seat before long.
At least, that's my opinion when I'm up there in front of everyone.
I must say though that my handouts have changed drastically since I first started giving presentations. For my first workshop I had a packet of photocopied handouts that duplicated what I thought were the most important slides of my presentation, complete with space for teachers to take notes.
I know for a fact that most of them ended up in the recycle bin, because like a good boy scout I over-prepared and had a lot left over. I couldn't even save them for my next conference, because even if I like how the workshop goes I try not to give the exact same presentation twice.
So my search began for a way to give handouts without a lot of waste. I quickly found a service called Wikispaces, which is a free, ad-supported wiki service. If you tell them you're a K12 teacher they'll even strip the ads off your wiki, just in case you're uncomfortable with stuff like that.
I had a lot of fun with Wikispaces, and even though I now own my own server and could install my own wiki software I'm still keeping my Edu-Blogging 101 wiki on their server. I ended up with people from all over the world contributing to it, thanks to plugs from people like Steve Dembo.
But wikis aren't the answer to everything. My Edu-Blogging 101 wiki does a great job at providing a lot of information, but it IS a lot of information to go through during an hour long presentation.
Then I went to the DEN National Leadership Conference, and I saw Mr. Dembo give a quick overview of podcasting. He had taken all of his links and plugged them into a page on his blog.
It was simple.
It was elegant.
It was something I should have thought of a long time ago.
Oh, well. At least now I know a good method for getting it done, so that's what I'm doing.
At tomorrow's workshop everyone will be getting a business card with my web address. They can take notes on the back if they want, but on the front will be the only URL they need to remember - the one that leads to everything I talked about.