Sunday, April 13, 2008

Day One at Higher Learning Commission

Wow, what a day. What a crappy, lousy, frustrating day. Apparently I have become the most cynical person on the planet. I have an incredibly difficult time sitting through presentations where the presenters are either a) superfluous, b) clueless, c) close-minded, d) totally self-absorbed, e) a corporate salesperson, or f) not me (just guessing at this last one).

a) This first session would have been the best one of the day if the presenters would have simply talked about the video learning objects that they have created and how they are using them. But NO, they had to go too far. They went too far in claiming that their stuff was innovative (it was good, but nothing innovative in the world of technology). The other problem is that they were trying to tell the audience that their video learning objects are somehow interactive. OMG!! I will write a completely separate rant about that one (some of you know that this is a pet peeve of mine).

b) The second session was worse than the first. This whole presentation was about teaching students to make really lousy PowerPoint slide shows with all the goofy animations (spinning pictures) and typewriter sounds for text entering the screen), and saying that this is somehow what we should be doing with students in the digital age. Ice pick in my forehead on this one.

c) The third session was one of those where they tell you what they did and tell you that soon you will all being doing it - but they never once gave any evidence of a real problem that they were trying to solve. They are the best example of someone who will try to show you all sorts of data or student feedback without having any data in the first place to prove that there was a problem looking for a solution. More about this one later.

d) I attended a session this afternoon by a presenter that I have seen about 4-5 times previously. I always liked his style and his method, although I thought that his material was getting pretty stale over the years. In February I had the chance to see him deliver a keynote and was totally disappointed to see how this gentleman had completely turned into an egomaniac during the past few years. He is all about self-promotion, which I have a really hard time watching. After the debacle in February I decided to go see him again in hopes that the February gig was just a one off for him. The other reason that I went again was because he had a different title for this presentation and even the description sounded like I was going to see some new material from this former great speaker. WRONG!!! On both counts. It turns out that he really is a self-absorbed self promoter and his new session title and description was just sheep's clothing for the same old material and PPT slides. Total disappointment.

e) The corporate guy was talking about a website where students create their online profile so that colleges can hear about the student before they choose where to enroll, and then the colleges contact the students who fit the profiles that they are interested in recruiting. This session was called "Powertapping the Web 2.0 for Unique Students." Very funny. There was not one thing about the system that had anything to do with "THE" Web 2.0.
Maybe it got better after I left, but I'll never know - because I LEFT!

Not the best way for me to spend a Sunday - all day long! What will tomorrow bring? I shudder to think. (Sorry - apparently I'm in a mood today.)

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