Presentation vs. Conversation

There’s learning to be had. Horizons to be broadened. Minds to be expanded (this can include yours and your students by the way). How do you best learn? This post has been stirring around for a while now, and I believe it was my good friend Steven Anderson that sparked it. He had tweeted something to the effect of, “How do we get away from the negative connotation of ‘making a presentation’?” My reply was, “How about ditching the word ‘presentation’ altogether?”.

This led me to think about Educon 2.3, which is coming up in about a week and a half. I’ve always liked how Educon referred to the sessions as “conversations” rather than “presentations.” Every session at Educon will be “an opportunity to discuss and debate ideas — from the very practical to the big dreams.”

Let me clarify that I’m not trying to bash the idea of a traditional presentation. I’ll further clarify by saying that to me a “traditional presentation” is defined as one in which an audience sits and listens while information is presented on a screen at the front of the room. Do you think too much of this model is happening in our classrooms? What if more schools adopted the Educon model of conversing with their students instead of presenting to them?

Is there a place for this in K-12? Are we designing learning spaces effectively to foster this type of collaborative learning? How can we design lessons that foster both types of learning?

So back to my original question: How do you best learn? Listening to a presentation or being part of a conversation?