Another dot in the blogosphere?

That is a lot of eyes

Posted on: May 30, 2014

And ears and minds and hearts.

I have presented to large audiences before, but probably not to 1200 teachers. That is a lot of people to excite or inspire.

I was the first plenary speaker for the Policy, Governance and Capacity Building (PGCB) conference for teachers in the Philippines.

Given this was right after lunch, I opted to include a backchannel and mobile learning stations. You see the latter in the foreground of the panoramic photo and in the second tweet below.

I thought it unwise to try to get the crowd to connect with #edsg when I reached the PLN part of my presentation. Some were struggling to backchannel and my tethering was spotty at best. My Macbook Air was away from me and beside a projector, so I could not toggle windows and programs.

A few were inspired to establish their own PLNs. This is what one person shared in TodaysMeet.


I think the talk went well. There were lots of thank-yous and kind comments in person. The audience was also active on the backchannel despite about only a tenth of them having stable Internet access.

Here are some remarks in the backchannel in TodaysMeet.


There was a series of replies in the backchannel that all said “boring”. Participants were responding to my question: What is wrong with lectures? We had a light moment when I said I hoped they were answering my question and not calling that part of the presentation boring!

I am not sure if I will try mass learning stations again. I might try again in a different context, e.g., where access and bandwidth are not issues.

But there was one thing I did not expect. I had about 100 groups come up to take photos with me. I was practically blind from the popping flashes! When I met larger groups, I turned the tables on them and took groupies. Here is one example.

I could not but help noting what mobile devices participants used as cameras. About one out of ten used an actual camera. Almost nine out of ten were on Android devices. Less than one in ten used an iOS device. There was the assorted mix of phones, tablets, and phablets (in that order).

Whatever device they used, this was indicative of a Facebooking, Instagramming, and tweeting generation of teachers in the Philippines. I hope they take my advice and encourage their students to create just as they create with social media.

On a more personal note, the event was a sacrifice on my part. I used some of my leave to do this and I gave up a pleasant lead up to a family holiday. I missed my family for two days. My Macbook Air and iPad mini also suffered water damage on the way back. But I draw comfort that some of the teachers will take the new ideas and run with them. Long may they last!

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