Abbie’s #EdCafe Reflection!

Posted on May 29, 2013 by

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Last week, the USHRS classes participated in an EdCafe, where one person would present to a small group of people twice and initiate discussions regarding their topics about immigration and/or Native American history. I enjoyed the EdCafe because it was much more relaxed than previous projects and more discussion-based as well. Although we had less time to prepare, I felt as if all those who worked efficiently during class did a great job presenting and learned a lot from the project. I really appreciated the lenient structure and the discussions because it gave each of the students a chance to thoroughly understand each topic and ask questions.

Photo from Flikr ©Leland Francisco

As a first time presenter in an informal situation such as the EdCafe, I learned that even when talking to small groups of people, I can struggle with wording my ideas and therefore should rehearse a little prior to presenting. I think the use of technology and handouts can be really informative in an informal situation because it gives the audience a chance to participate and become active in the presentation. At times I struggle with using my voice in public situations—be it out of embarrassment or simply from  lack of interest. This is one aspect of presenting that I have continuously hoped to improve and am still working on. Because the audiences consisted of only a couple of people, audience members were forced to listen very carefully and ask questions, which (I believe) helped us understand each topic. Participation was a key aspect of the EdCafe, and the small groups enabled everybody to participate. If we had done a formal presentation individually in front of the entire class instead of an EdCafe, I have no doubt that I would have learned significantly less because I wouldn’t have been as engaged.

I had a great time learning not only about the Immigration Act of 1917, but also about everybody else’s topics. I feel as if I can take away much more from this project in opposition to others because I know I participated actively and therefore will remember all of the topics that much more. I think the EdCafe was a great project to (kind of) end the year on!

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