One of the best storytellers in education

I’m at the presentation of Curt Bonk, Professor of Instructional Systems Technology @ Indiana U. (my alma mater). He is one of the best presenters I have ever seen and I’ve seen a lot and him many times now. He has great slides, great information, and dresses up to engage people. He’s dressed as Indiana Jones now.

He’s been speaking for 45 minutes and it feels like less than 10. He does not focus on academic language and findings, but translates the research and concepts into largely plain English. He also has a lot of audience participation to draw folks into what he is talking about and convey the information. Even his text-heavy slides are only up briefly and he uses a lot of images.

I was fortunate to have him visit my combined classes last night at UNT and he gave a great talk on the explosion and uses of video for education. We had students both in class and online and he remembered and worked to engage with the online students. We had nearly as many students online as face-to-face and streamed it using UStream, which worked pretty well, though it was a learning process for me. The day was very busy and I committed the cardinal sin of technology, which is that I did not set things up early and test things ahead of time, so I wound up with some content that wound up audio only and the quality of most of it is pretty poor.

He provides massive amounts of ideas to folks. From our past discussions, he seems to do so so that at least some of the ideas stick for different people with different needs, which is an excellent approach. He also engages folks based on psychological principles using audio-visual theory (Paivio), affect, psychomotor, language and other connections to cognitive theory to draw folks into the topics. It is quite brilliant and I hope to incorporate some of his ideas into my future approaches. I do know that some of them I will not be able to implement simply because they do not work with my style or personality. I am much more aware of these things after deeply studying my teaching the last four months and watching what I do. There is a lot to critique, but I will not try to change everything at once, which is my natural inclination. Instead, I want to see what works as I change one thing at a time.


2 thoughts on “One of the best storytellers in education

  1. When you make incremental changes you can better judge the result. A little empiricism is a good thing.

    • Good point! Only changing one variable better allows one to make the claim that the result stemmed from that decision/treatment/intervention.

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