|Editing the wiki during this workshop was really easy.|
As I mentioned earlier, yesterday I gave a workshop about current trends in online media to about a dozen staffers at New Hope Media here in Boulder. In that workshop I tried something new: using a wiki as a presentation tool.
Wow, that worked really well, I think! Definitely better than using a blog post as a presentation aid/handout, which is what I normally do — and of course light years ahead of a Powerpoint presentation, which I loathe under any circumstance.
And here’s what I liked about this approach…
Generally, I don’t do monologues. I’m not good at them, and I’m not comfortable with that approach to public speaking. I vastly prefer engaging groups in discussion — not just relegating their input to Q&A at the end of the session.
Yesterday’s workshop was very heavy on discussion — and therefore a lot of fun. The folks at New Hope (at least the ones who attended my workshop) are generally pretty curious and open-minded about online, social, and conversational media. They asked excellent questions, which I was able to include in the wiki so we wouldn’t lose track of them. (See “participants’ burning questions” section of the wiki.)
Also, I tend to be flexible about the direction in which a discussion flows. While I had a few topics I wanted to be sure I covered, I left room to take the discussion in whichever direction the group wanted. Consequently, we ended up straying into topics such as blogging workflow management and content management systems that I hadn’t prepared in advance. However, I was able to add some content about that (including links) to the wiki on the fly.
One advantage of this approach is that the participants were in a more conversational mindset. They were very engaged in the discussion, and they weren’t just passively taking notes. In effect, I was taking notes for them while leading the discussion. That seemed to free them up mentally to engage more fully with the action.
Although wikis are excellent collaboration tools, I chose not to open this wiki to group or public editing. Right now, I’m the only one who can edit it. That’s because I wanted this wiki to stand as a record of the workshop. Also, the participants weren’t especially wiki-savvy and I didn’t want them to feel burdened by learning this tool — I wanted them to focus on using more important tools, like feed readers. And of course, I didn’t want them accidentally deleting important workshop content.
Of course, this approach only works in sessions with live, fast net access — which, fortunately, we had yesterday. I always plan my sessions to work in the event of net access or equipment failure, but when all the technology works it’s a bonus.
Has anyone else tried using wikis as a presentation tool? Or maybe for training programs or classroom work? I’d love to hear your experiences. Please comment below.