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I’ve long struggled with this issue of keynoting at a place where you don’t know the context well.
On the one hand, people are often invited to keynote because they are experts in something and are outsiders with a fresh perspective. On the other hand, it can sometimes seem like the speakers are talking over the audience or not truly addressing or engaging them sometimes either because they ignore the context or (often worse) make incorrect (unfounded?) assumptions about the context.
Recently, because a lot more of my speaking engagements are invited rather than proposed by me, they are a plenary type talks or panels, and this feels like more pressure and responsibility to make it good, to make sure it’s good for the audience, rather than just me presenting what I want to say.
I may be overthinking it. I’m not sure.
I do know that while I’m completely comfortable being virtual in many ways, being onsite at a conference makes a difference to the keynoting experience in several ways. I get to talk to people before and after. Even the evening before at the hotel or the morning at breakfast. All of this really gives more insight with subtle hints that aren’t usually available to the virtual Participant. I didn’t change my OER17 keynote much because of those little things, but my intro thanking ALT was different because of it and it made a big difference in my own attitude as I stood there. Even a conversation with Josie and Alek on the way there made a difference. And being there the rest of the day and hearing people refer back to my keynote in their own talks? SO GRATIFYING. SO SO SO GRATIFYING.
DigPed was more complex, and even though I don’t think I did a superb job with that keynote, I know it would have been worse if I didn’t have the context to go with it.
Yesterday I was at a panel here in Egypt. This will surprise you, but I’m not as heavily knowledgeable about k-12 edu in Egypt as I’d like to be because my daily job is higher ed/edtech and my evening informal learning networks are also higher ed/edtech/OpenEd focused. So it’s not my daily thing, not my daily research or teaching or experience or discourse.
And so because I was at this panel where it’s not my thing and because I couldn’t attend the full two days of the event, I am pretty sure I didn’t do the best possible thing. I did ok given the lack of context (and that I had to speak first UGH) but of course I wasn’t like totally blind to context… But you know, still.
Anyway. I’m just venting now.
Tomorrow inshallah I speak virtually at OEPS. I would have loved to go. The location at Dynamic Earth alone seems DIVINE. But anyways. I talked to several conference organizers and several Scottish friends and OU friends (involved in the project) and I feel good about it. I think 🙂
It’ll be tomorrow at 11.10 and a Vconnecting session immediately after it so around 11.30 (Q&A) or 11.40 (the break time at the conference). More info and to sign up is here