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Posts Tagged ‘masterclass

Social service meets social media-based learning

I am putting the finishing touches on the keynote that I deliver this week.

To create an interactive seminar — I am told it is called a masterclass — I have asked participants to complete an online poll (Google Form), install a QR code reader on their phones, suggest ideas in an AnswerGarden, and watch a YouTube video. They need to do this before we meet.

During the keynote, I will get the audience to participate in a TodaysMeet backchannel, another AnswerGarden, and a Padlet exit ticket Google Form quiz. They have the option of getting to these resources and my Google Slides via their QR code readers. I will also share some data from the poll and AnswerGarden to help them visualise their learning.

In terms of content, I aim to help participants uncover just two things: 1) three core 21st century competencies (unlearning, relearning, and learning), and 2) using social media to create personal learning networks (PLNs).

I believe that the core focus and PLNs will help the social service sector overcome problems like a lack of resources (by using what they already have) and addressing a diversity of learning needs (by connecting with communities).

Whether I was professor then or a consultant now, I am invited to conduct lectures, keynotes, talks, and seminars. It is almost as if there is a event organiser collective trying to use nouns from a thesaurus.

The latest term to blip on my radar is masterclass. I am told I am conducting one in April.

Here is my beef with the term.

When I look at the context of the masterclass and its still evolving design, it looks like a seminar.

I write this not to badmouth the organisers — who are extremely nice and adaptable — but to question the assumptions behind such a term.

Talks, by whatever name, are not the best methods of learning and pushing change. Take, for example, Steve Wheeler’s excellent critique of TED talks.

Talks seem to be necessary evils because people assume that meeting face to face is best. Then once there in person, some look at their phones, close their eyes, or fold their arms.

This is why I am grateful to the organisers for some flexible design:

  • I will be interacting with participants before, during, and after the session
  • The talk is followed by a panel (that I hope is more Q&A than fish bowl)

Speakers at talks might inspire, but does the audience actually learn anything? The audience will only learn when challenged, presented with critical questions instead of generic answers, and given the opportunity to participate in feedback.

Perhaps this is how a masterclass is different. Perhaps I can shape what a masterclass is.

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