Glad you asked. Pretty well, all things considered. My talk, having the catchy (?) title of “A Tale of Two Wikis”, is about creativity in upper-level math courses and how I used wikis to facilitate collaboration on creative projects in two of my upper-level courses. It’s a subject I enjoy talking about, and I enjoy showing off the wikis that my students made in those courses. But that’s something of a problem now, since I only have a 15-minute time slot to work with, and only 10 of those minutes can be taken up with an actual talk.
Yesterday I had a practice run through my talk with a few of my colleagues present. It took me 12 minutes to get through the entire talk, but I lost about a minute because I had forgotten to sign into my Wikispaces account prior to showing how the wiki-authoring process worked. So modulo that glitch, I think I’m actually OK time-wise. The only other issue with the talk was that one graphic — a full-color graphic of Bloom’s Taxonomy with text labels on each stage — looked fine on my laptop monitor but was illegible on the projector screen. (Black text on dark red and orange background.) So I need either to redo that graphic myself and fix the legibility, or else just plan on reading the text labels.
Now begins the preparation for the presentation itself, which is basically centered around having a Plan B, C, D, …, Z just in case Plan A (= show the presentation off my laptop using Keynote, a wireless internet connection, and an LCD projector) fails when I get up in front of the audience. My contingency preparations include:
- Having transparencies of my Keynote slides.
- Having PDF’s of my Keynote slides available on a CD.
- Having PDF’s of my Keynote slides available on a flash drive in case CD fails.
- Having Power Point versions of my Keynote slides available on Google Presentations in case the internet works by my hardware doesn’t. (Yeah, that’s unlikely.)
- Having Quicktime versions of the walkthrough of my student wikis in case internet doesn’t work.
- Having electronic copies of the slides, the movies, and the handouts for the talk in an email on GMail.
Basically I have been through so many presentations that turned into disasters because some piece of technology didn’t work, that I now plan for any talk, no matter how simple or short, as if all the possible outcomes are equally likely. Paranoia: It’s not just for breakfast anymore!