Elliott’s EdCafe Reflection

Posted on May 29, 2013 by

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Screen shot 2013-05-31 at 8.25.51 AMThe EdCafe provided a unique occasion to develop distinct presenting skills.  The small group format was a welcomed deviation from the typical “present to the entire class/teacher” model, and provided opportunities for new, innovative presenting methods.  For my presentation, I utilized an iPad to display portraits of major figures, maps, and diagrams.  I think that the iPad was a fantastic way to capture the attention of the small audience, and shift the focus of the presentation to a more interactive approach.  I believe that the best way to take advantage of the small group format was to try to make the presentation more of an interactive, designed discussion.  This goal forced me to prepare questions for my audience, and to attempt to bait them into taking interest in my topic and contributing to the conversation.

First and foremost, preparation was definitely critical to this format.  I prepared the different details I would use in my designed discussion, and crafted an outline for how I would ideally like the 20 minutes to flow, however I was prepared to run either too long/too short, and I brought with me several extra topics and questions in case I needed to utilize the time more fully, or my audience became unresponsive.  I have always felt that I was a strong speaker, and “presenter,” however perhaps at times I have not been prepared finite details.  The EdCafe taught me how to prepare more extensively, and how to find the balance between concrete structure, and flexible space to tailor the discussion to the interests of the audience.

As a whole I felt that the EdCafe was definitely successful, however I don’t think it was a perfect format.  While the informality of the sessions helped the presenters feel more comfortable, the discussion definitely lost its focus at times.  The format makes a lot of sense because I believe students teaching other students has many benefits, and gives us opportunities to learn a lot, about many different historic topics.  However, during certain presentations especially, I didn’t feel that the format allowed us to learn about topics in depth, and we were merely given “snapshots.”

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– Image taken from flicker

– Taken by Sean MacEntee

– Taken on April, 27 2012

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