Managing Behaviour & Technology – A Night with NEAL

Managing Technology
Image Credit: IBoomMedia/Flickr CC: by-nc-sa

I’ve just arrived back from an evening session on “Managing Technology and Behaviour @ Home” run by Andrew Cowie, Heather Eccles and Alan Curtis from NEAL (Northern Education Access Loop).

I surprised myself by enjoying the session, it wasn’t that I personally learned anything technical, it was all about the presentation of the material which was simply outstanding.

To explain; the speakers were all from a teaching background, clear roadmaps, slides reinforcing key points and seeking an understanding of the subject matter from their audience were all employed to ensure the transfer of knowledge to their audience.

Again, I come back to the language, I kept thinking to myself “Wow – THAT is a much better way of presenting the point”. The facilitators were confident in their subject matter and they spoke in a language appropriate to their audience (mainly parents, a few with their high school students accompanying them). They had a good turn out for a school information evening and I believe they will gain more in the follow up session they had planned.

Andrew started off the evening by introducing himself, his qualifications to speak (developing digital literacy for library) and that he was a parent of young boys who keep him on his toes in regards to their usage behaviours. Their insights from a parenting background were helpful in creating a rapport with the audience.

The audience was split in two (again, a teachers understanding of group dynamics – smaller groups engender less reluctance to feeding back), one group moving off to discuss Social Media (and their safety settings) with Heather and the balance remaining to work through the “Managing Technology” discussion with Andrew. Alan floated between the groups facilitating conversation as appropriate.

In keeping with the openness of the evening, the presenters have also made their content available online. [Shared Google Doc]

I managed to catch up with Andrew and Heather afterward and pointed them toward TheOrb and my other blog where I have a collection of links and resources which they may find useful for future sessions.

Obviously there is a huge amount of depth to this subject area and being able to guide folks toward what real-life examples exist generated some interest from the other parents, a couple of whom waited for me afterward to quiz me further on some of the input I had made to the conversation such as the example of how geo tagged photos can reveal more than you may wish (ref: Apache Helicopters destroyed after geotagged photos were uploaded to the social web (2012) [Link 1, Link 2, Link 3]).

I’m looking forward to the next session and learning more about how best to present this kind of information.