Twenty Four Too Short

Presentation Room With a View — originally uploaded to flickr by cogdogblog

The stop in Darwin represented the first time I presented in a casino (okay it was a function room above the Sky City Casino), but it was certainly the only presentation room I recall where beyond the muffins was a beach.

When I agreed to do this trip, I knew what I was signing up for in terms of the intensity of the travel, but I am now so much regretting I had but a 24 hour window of time in Darwin. I had offers of going fishing, hunting toads, visiting the far flung communities.. and Alice! I missed Alice Springs, again! It has always been a magical place in my mind– but more so, after hearing about the challenges of time, distance, connectivity, and culture in the Northern Territory, this fly by “blow in” visit is not something I will ever choose again for Australia,

Anyhow, I was again blessed to have another enthusiastic audience in Darwin for their eLearning Showcase event. At least I was not the education minister who got grilled from people tired of poor access to internet. I have no idea how it gets done, some someone needs to light some fires under people who can make infrastructure for high speed networking a reality here. In this case, I will see people are going to be behind the world. Is it a basic human right? No, but for a country wanting to leverage its strengths, it ought to put serious cash behind the things to bridge the ginormous distances and inequities in access.

So this morning was the last iteration of Being There in that Unevenly Distributed Future presentation. I can say now that after 5 or 6 iterations, that the Australian audiences had no problems with my use of a US movie as a metaphor, but even more convincingly, they overwhelmingly know Seargent Schultz.

I did have an unhappy participant in the front of the room. When I get to the section of the talk on “The Internet is Really Big”, it was the Technorati slide on growth of the blogosphere that put her in motion.

Hand goes up: “What is blogging? Why does it matter to me?”

I really the questions of interruption, but was hoping I did not have to explain what a blog was- a simple web creation tool that is reverse chronologically organized, and used many ways, as diaries, resource bullding, project documentation, portfolios, anything.

Mrs Crossed Arms wanted more. She wants that big giant button you click that says, “Apply this to education… make it Apply it to the Classes I Teach”

I needed to move on, as I did not want to get into a discussion about the role and place of blogs, “”t’s all about personal publishing, ” I tried. “How about If I chat with you during the break?”

So as I went, I looked for the “hook” that might thaw this woman’s coolness. So I get to talking about flickr, and let the audience know about all of the great images I find for use in presentation.

So I single her out and ask, “Where do you get images for your presentations, for your class materials? Clip Art?” She shakes her head and says, “I only use my own photographs”.

Ahh -so I counter, “What if you don’t have an image to represent a concept or metaphor? Do you have your own photo of the Grand Canyon?”

“No, ” she states, “I would have no need for that.”

Dead end number two. Not giving up. I ask, “How do you share your images?”

“I print them out and give them to people or email there. I cannot see any use of sharing them online.”

Hmmm. Fuggeddabouddit , I have 60 other people to present to.

Another woman asked me at the end, “I want to know how you can stay on top of all this technology and manage your time.”

This one made me lose my concentration. That was the point of the entire presentation! My message was about giving up this notion of “staying up” or “being expert”, and instead forming, cultivating, using your networks.

I dont think she liked my answer either. I told here that.

Barnum’s Law of Presentations- you cannot please all the people all of the time.

I really did not mind this at all, and actually enjoyed the sense of being challenged.

Another person came up on the break and chided me for advocating use of open content and open tools, yet I was “using the most closed operating system of them all.” referring to Mac OS X.

I tried to explain that I was not an open source religious purist, that I used whatever I had that I can use, whether it is open source or commercial. I tried to ask, “what is it about the Apple OS that you need to tinker with? To me it works so well, I am not needing to change it.” No go.

“What about the things Apple does share, like the Darwin Streaming Server.?”

No go. Oh well, he was not being mean, just trying to make a point. I’l take that.

I use the most closed operating system in the universe and love it. Who wants to fart around with operating systems anyhow? There’s no fun, no creativity there. That’s like plumbing.

Unfortunately, I ended up with about only 15 minutes to give them an overview of the Fifty Web 2.0 Ways to tell a story flying through the wiki at breakneck speed and doing a quick talk over of the 50 (er, 49) tools. It really was a firehose, I am sorry folks.

And then Bing Bam Boom! Sally drives me to the airport, only 24 hours since she picked uo me, and its into the skies to get to Brisbane. So again, it is a day of hotel – taxi -airport -taxi- hotel…

At least there was a nice break at te airport, I ran into the speaker I heard last night in Darwin, Craig Rispin, and we shared some drinks and food at the Quantas Club (thanks to his card). He is really sharp on the whole technology field. A good connection made.

So 24 in Darwin. Never again. No, I want to come back to the Northern Territory, but not for a 24 hour window.


10 thoughts on “Twenty Four Too Short

  1. Hi Alan

    Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your talk and exploration yesterday (I don’t think I’m alone there…)! As a developer of interactive learning materials for some 15 years in higher ed and VET who has tried to put the WOW!! into learning, I totally empathised with your views on connectivity and exploring and trialling new ideas and technology to enrich the learning experience. Many thanks, keep up the good work and the sharing!

    Long live open source!

    (BTW, if you read this Sue Waters you may remember me from the Learning Framework session in Perth this year when was working at Central TAFE..)

    Thanks and regards,

    Peter Browne
    Charles Darwin University

  2. Alan – Love your descriptions of those couple of people in the audience and your dialogue with them. Sounds like they presented some challenges with certain attitudes that are not likely to be budged in a couple of minutes of discussion! Can see that you didn’t mind so much, that you “enjoyed the sense of being challenged”. And others would have been interested in your responses to the challengers as well. Knew you would be really pushed for time in Darwin….if only you had had a few more available days!

  3. Sorry Alan just got to say hi to Peter. Yes Peter I remember you but what are you doing in Darwin? What happened to setting up sandpits at Central TAFE. PS while I don’t think of what I do as play I now agree with you that we need to some how bring in the sense of play so they want to use the tools (yes you can ROFL if you want 🙂 ).


  4. Hi Sue

    (I’m sure you wouldn’t mind Alan if we use this blog to maintain our networks… ;-))

    I’m working as a multimedia developer in the Teaching and Learning Development Group at Charles Darwin University. Finally managed to break free of the confines of TAFE and move into some real development. Woking on some very exciting and unique projects, one is a virtual hospital (with virtual patients waiting for a vitual cure (or death) for nurses which I am developing by myself. Love the job and the uni is great…shame about Darwin though…LOL.



  5. Hi Peter

    That is great news although maybe not about Darwin. How long have you been there? I assume sort of like a Second Life application? So did you project end up happening at Central TAFE before you left? And did someone take over from you?

    Thanks Alan for connecting us again 🙂


  6. Hey there Alan. Your visit was what I’d call a cyclone visit – a top end twist on a whirlwind visit! We’d have liked to have shared some territory hospitality with you – maybe next time. A post script to your presentation, Ms Folded Arms came up to me later in the day and quietly said “Now I’m getting it. This I can use. I didn’t understand before, but now I can see it.” Some people need a good hard bump to knock them out of their comfortable paradigms. Thank you for providing that bump.

  7. Hey Alan,

    here are some Pix I didn’t give you when you were here in Darwin –
    I thought the presentation showed immense and intense enthusiasm – from enthusiasm great things happen – like any technology it takes a while to develop – – Power to the People will most likely come from the newly evolving species of Humans Internetus and their blogs, wikis and podcasts – making us Sovereign Individuals – Kind regards – Stony 🙂

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