Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Choose-ur-own-adventure Keynote? #oer17

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So I have this crazy idea that I may or may not implement and it’s still developing in my mind. I was gonna ask some people privately what they thought… But I thought why not just blog it?

So you can tell from the title what it is, and the reason it is like that is

  1. I know my audience will be different people with different interests. If this were a class or workshop I was leading I would want to create space for people of different interests to learn different things. Why not in a keynote? 
  2. I have so many things I might want to talk about (beyond the broad theme of critical & intentionality). I could poll people like crazy now, but on THE DAY of the keynote something more interesting might be happening… I bet you anything my keynote pre and post Trump wouldn’t have been the same thing 
  3. Audiences already have agency. They choose to attend or not. To react or not. To tweet appreciatively or snarkily. To ask questions or not. To approach speakers or not afterwards. But what if audiences had agency over WHAT the keynote was about. And what if they didn’t need to reach consensus about it?
  4. I want this to be something virtual and asynchronous folks can participate in, not just onsite folks
  5. I want to listen during my keynote and not just talk. It may seem weird, but I already talk a lot. And I will talk…but I wanna help create opportunities for others to talk, too. During and beyond the keynote. I will explain now.

So here’s the sketch of the idea, and feedback is absolutely welcome

  1. Part of the keynote is interactive presentation. A small part. Where I lead but interact with folks
  2. Part of the keynote is choose-ur-own-adventure like on Twine or a simple branching Google form. The idea is that folks onsite or online get to choose between a list of topics or provocations. Those can each link to a particular blogpost of mine (or a hypothes.is enabled page where they can add comments), or lead to some page with further questions or a Google doc to post their thoughts. Participants virtually can use those digital venues, and participants onsite can chat to someone beside them about the topic if they’re feeling social (or engage digitally if they’re not feeling social, which would be sad, but some people might prefer it).
  3. The digital engagements (via google form, doc, hypothes.is or Twitter or whatever format) I can respond to later. But the onsite folks… I could walk around and ask onsite folks who want to share some thoughts on the topic they were discussing and raise further questions or make points
  4. Part of the keynote is a call to action. I would offer some suggestions and invite everyone to make their own resolutions to themselves, sharing if comfortable 

There are 3 tricky things here that i can think of off the top of my head

  1. I don’t want the engagement with the audience to end up by some audience members taking up lots of time looking intellectual without giving others opportunities to speak. I could just ask people to not do that, I guess? I have a feeling the OER17 crowd are mostly not gonna have that type of problem, to be honest. 
  2. I wanna have opportunities for audience members to engage with each other not just me. With people sitting far away and not just nearby. I have several plans for that 
  3. I don’t want people to feel cheated of a keynote by me. This is tricky. It’s also kinda weird if i am the first Egyptian person to keynote OER conference (I suspect I am?) that I end up making space for other (in many ways less marginal?) voices. However, the links would mostly be to articles or blogposts by me anyway so it wouldn’t be totally not my ideas. I also considered a “random” option (linking to a randomly generated blogpost of mine just for kicks – it’s as easy as: http://blog.mahabali.me/?random).
  4. Ok one more. I worry that I might choose people I know to speak. Or that people who know me feel more comfortable speaking than others. By a rough estimate, I would know about 30-50 people in that audience. I actually considered making a list so I don’t miss meeting or shaking hands with everyone at some point, but that seems crazy, huh? But I definitely don’t want to be cliquish in my keynote!

So there’s the idea. Feedback welcome.

I wonder if I should get IRB approval if I do this, because the Google form would collect data.

I wonder if the room wifi will be good enough for this activity also. I don’t know if many ppl in the UK use LTE or 3G given that almost every shop and café in London has free wifi

Over to you

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