Thursday, April 8, 2010

Developing skills in writing and delivering papers: using prezi

OK... it's been a while. I became one of those people who say 'I'm too busy'. I have to say that's not just some lame excuse because I've been so so busy with all sorts of great things that I'll share with you all in good time. However, now that the first 4 weeks of semester are over and my working day has a little more space in it I'm ready to divulge what's been going on in the world of misssophiemac!

To start with I'll tell you about a presentation I did last week with my colleague Janet. Last year we attended a one day LATN workshop on developing skills in writing and delivering papers. There was a great mix of people there from all levels of libraries and it was a practical and hands on day of challenging fun. We had to write an abstract, author bio, turn our abstract into a paper outline, give a 3 min presentation of our ideas and critique each presentation. Overall we felt the day was a huge learning experience.

We returned to work energised and enthused and started a writing group to support each other in our writing efforts. Our group expanded to about 12 and we now support each other in writing short papers, abstracts and submitting to conferences etc. We were also determined to share the workshop experience with library colleagues and decided to do an interactive presentation of what we learned using the prezi below in our new interactive teamboard room: Create Space. (couldn't get prezi to embed??? so had to do it this way)

Create Space was the perfect location for our presentation because the room creates an informal atmosphere of engagement, communication and collaboration! (If you don't believe me try being a fly on the wall at our next staff meeting in there). People don't sit on regular chairs facing the front in a lecture style environment, they get involved, ask questions, we got them up for a brainstorming session and it was hard to get them to stop! The best part was that with the interactive whiteboard, we could touch the screen anywhere and our prezi would just zoom right in on whatever we touched! Very cool!

The Brainstorming section of the prezi was when we made people get up and start writing their ideas on the whiteboard and greenboard walls. Though tentative at first, they soon warmed up and started writing all the things they were working on or interested in and then started to see the connections and talk to each other about collaborating!

Turning it into a paper: I reflected on my experience of writing a paper for VALA2010 with Mal Booth and Belinda Tiffen and discussed how we approached the writing process collaboratively.

We then moved on to 'Writing V Presenting' and after going over the differences we asked participants to critique our own presentation in real-time. The critique was very positive *pumps fist* and I wrote on the greenboard as people were commenting. Comments included: fun, creative, movement, images, not talking at but with, colour, participation, no jargon, engaged, cool use of technology, easy to read, short bursts...

Our main aim was to make it fun, engaging, interactive and practical. We wanted people to realise that through sharing ideas, we can collaborate and by collaborating we can write together and share the load, making it an easier task to contemplate. We tried to show people that if you start small by sharing ideas and working together then anything is possible! I think we were really successful in getting that across based on comments from participants and the fact that people hung around afterward talking about writing together! So what next? We will continue to encourage and support colleagues through our writing group and hope we can start spreading the word more widely about all the great things going on at UTS Library!


  1. Ooh, shiny!

    I need to give a presentation soon on something that has the potential to be a dry topic and it'll be great to have something to hold my audience's attention!

  2. Loved it!! Wonderful presentation in possibly the most exciting room at UTS. :D