“There were three very late “idea” additions to the program that ended up working very well. The first was the idea of holding 5-minute “lightning” round presentations, given by participants to showcase a tool they use or an idea for teaching, or by vendors to showcase their products. The idea for these came from the TeachMeet unconferences held in the UK that have seven-minute “micropresentations” and two-minute “nano-presentations.” I’m not even sure if we followed their format very closely, but it was just the idea of short presentations that appealed to me: they don’t require so much preparation as to put people off, they allow for bite-sized good ideas to be presented, and they aren’t so long as to feel badly if you watch one that doesn’t ‘t grab you. I think the participants in San Francisco felt the same way, and my reading was that they really liked the “speed” or “lightning” round sessions, and I plan to do a lot more of them in the future. They have the added benefit of involving more people (very Web 2.0-ish!). I think for them to be helpful, you really have to have time afterwards for individual tutoring and questions, and to try new tools or ideas out. So again, free time is so important.”
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