Banned in Texas - 9 Tips for Outlaw Presenters
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In a fun twist, my GoogleSites wiki turned out to be on the BANNED list at a recent Education Service Center. The site that was blocked? The subversive MoodleMayhem site. Of course, that turned into a nice icebreaker for the workshop and highlighted the importance of posting your content EVERYWHERE on the Web rather than trying to concentrate it...you know, a shotgun approach to sharing your content.
Fortunately, many of the resources I share on MoodleMayhem appear in my blog, on my favorite wiki space (Wikispaces), as well as on other sites. I literally have content scattered to the winds. Instead of being a negative for my participants and I, it made the discussion about how to critical it was to have a "large" digital footprint so that your work could always rise to the top, no matter what limits you might encounter.
How have you coped with blocked sites in YOUR presentations?
Some tips that seem obvious but never hurt to revisit:
- Double-check and make sure that you can really access your primary web sites, including a few links deep, at the conference site
- Take screenshots and have them in your presentation. You can always use the real web but rely on screenshots if you want to keep folks focused and moving forward through content...and if the web sites are blocked!
- If working with videos, while it may be cool to click on a YouTube video link and play it from within your presentation program, I wouldn't count on it. Better to use JingPro (to save to MP4) or some screencasting program and a Screenflower (Mac) or VirtualDub (Windows) to capture the audio of a video. Of course, if it's a video on YouTube, you can use one of the many tools available to save it to your desktop.
- Copy-n-Paste your entire web site for a workshop to multiple locations. You can easily embed your content in various wiki-based sites these days, and it serves as an easy introduction to tools that participants in the audience may be hungry to know about but would never have imagined learning about in your session about whatever topic you chose. In fact, this was exactly how David Warlick unintentionally introduced me to Pmwiki.org !
- If all else fails, why not use a tool like Contxts.com to share SMS mobile cards? You can put all your info in Contxts, and people send a text message and receive one back with all your information. That way, you KNOW they won't lose your workshop materials.
- An alternative to Contxts is using QR codes. I've fallen in love with QR Codes and want to put them in every workshop I do from this point forward. Problem is, not everyone will have the free LYNKEE on either their Android or iPhone installed to read the code. Doesn't hurt, though, to share the information so that they can be prepared for next time...and who knows, they might want it anyways. You can create QR codes--bar codes--easily.
- If you're web site is banned, you could always tether your Android phone (sorry, IPhone users, no solution for you yet) to your computer so you can slide past the Sheriff's posse. Of course, this will depend on your 3G access in the area. Or, be prepared to spend some money to get PC wireless/USB cards that grant you Internet freedom. I still remember the looks on teachers' faces at a workshop in Texas when I accessed educationally appropriate resources they knew they couldn't access on their locked-down Windows computers, but that I needed to make a point in my presentation. Of course, that kind of solution can be expensive!
- Try Virtual Browsing sites (e.g. Virtual Browsing, Proxify.com) that allow you to access sites anonymously. These don't always work, though. Oh, and tips like this one are probably why my web sites are outlawed in some Texas school districts!
- Take advantage of mobile device templates for your web sites...in an audience totin' smartphones, you may have to rely on them getting to your web site via mobile handheld device. Set up mobile page that facilitates access.
What tips would you also offer?
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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure