This Friday I was lucky enough to be asked to speak at an independently organized TED event. When Jamie Weir asked me to speak way back in … October?… I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I was flattered, but I also have a habit of saying yes to things when they seem very far away, and then deciding how to make it work later.
Well April 9th popped up pretty fast! Oh, and did I mention I also agreed to present two workshops at our board’s big technology conference the next morning? Why? WHY?
I knew that I wanted to talk about my action research project but trying to figure out how to cram all that into a 5 minute talk was quite daunting. I managed to pick out the highlights–I hope–and tell people why I thought Ning was such a great teaching and learning tool. I made cute slides. I memorized and rehearsed. I picked out my shoes. I believe my shoes were a trending topic on Twitter that night.
The night was a blur! One minute I was suggesting iPhone apps to Paul Finkelstein.
The next minute I was discussing the dubious merits of Fast Eddie’s with Dan Misener (whilst lusting after his iPad).
And then, somehow, I was up!
And the computer running my slides threw a tantrum and had to be rebooted while I tried to make small talk and considered beat-boxing to fill the dead time. Technology glitches aside, I made it through the talk, and I really appreciate all the hard work the tech team did to jump over those impossible-to-foresee hurdles. My Twitter friends were so supportive and kind and thanks to the miracle of technology, my friends and family were able to watch online. So cool!
I felt a little out of my league when I realized I was speaking at the same event as Alec Couros, Jesse Brown, Ray Zahab, Paul Finkelstein, (aw, heck, EVERYONE. Check out this roster of speakers), but what an amazing opportunity to network and be inspired.
Small confession: I was such a nervous wreck, I did a very bad job at mingling. There were so many people I wanted to meet face to face, but as soon I was done talking, I hid in the green room and scarfed a sub. There. I admit it. But I wasn’t alone. After giving a hilarious and engaging talk, Jesse Brown, co-founder of Bitstrips
joined me in the greenroom and we had a great chat about technology in schools, visual literacy, and the surprising positive side of the partial anonymity that social networking creates. He was awesome!
I also got to chat with Kathy Hibbert who I’ve followed on Twitter for a while and finally got to meet face to face. It was so nice to see that I wasn’t the only nervous one! I wish I’d been able to stick around for her talk but I had to be up early to present at Medway early the next morning.
Did I mention that I finally got to meet Jamie Weir face to face? Read her blog here.
She and the rest of her crew should be very proud.
A huge thanks to Jamie, Rodd, Ben, Kim, Sharon, Colin, and everyone else who worked to make Friday night happen. It was a night I will never forget.
And now, here’s my TEDx talk: