Below is my DIY CME Ignite session from last week’s Alliance conference. OK, no, it’s not the actual live session, but one I recorded beforehand using Screenr, one of the tools I talk about during the session (Yes, I used Screenr to talk about Screenr. How meta…). An Ignite session is 20 slides, 15 seconds per slide, auto-advancing. It’s not easy to put together and it’s easily the most time I’ve ever spent preparing for a 5-minute presentation.
I got two tips on putting together an Ignite session that I found to be very helpful: 1) Practice, practice, practice; and 2) Tell your story. I definitely did #1 and tried to do #2 the best I could. Unlike most presentations where I first make my slides and then talk about them during the presentation, for the Ignite session the first thing I did was write out an entire script. I edited and rewrote it until I had it down to 5 minutes and then I started breaking it into 15 second chunks. Once I had those 15 second chunks edited to make sense, then I made my slides. Since I only had 15 seconds per slide, I wanted the focus to be on what I was saying, not what was on the slides. That’s why I eschewed bullet points in favor of pictures and images, so the slides could just run in the background as reinforcement, without requiring the audience to try and speed read through them. That was my goal, anyway.
Below is the actual script I used and shows how I synched my text with the slides.
Good morning, everyone. My name is Derek Warnick and the man whose picture you see currently up on the screen is my father Don Warnick, one of the most stubborn individuals you will ever meet and a man who absolutely refused to let the words “I can’t” be used in his household.
He drove my sister and I crazy, but we understand why he did it. This is a man who grew up on a small farm in southern Delaware, where saying “I can’t” just wasn’t something you did.
When one of the tractors broke down, you didn’t say I can’t. You fixed it yourself. When the electric in the old farmhouse needed to be rewired, you didn’t say I can’t. You rewired it yourself.
When you get told at 8 years old that your aunt’s cornfield needs to be plowed and it’s not going to plow itself, you didn’t say I can’t. You hopped on the tractor and plowed it.
That do-it-yourself mentality has carried down to me, though sadly, not in the more practical areas of everyday life.
In all honesty, if I have to do much more than change a tire or light bulb, I’m at a bit of a loss. But, when we’re talking about CME and the use of technology – that’s when my DIY genes kick in.
I have been fortunate in my career in CME to have worked for a few organizations where contracting out difficult or complicated tasks, especially those related to technology, wasn’t an option.
This provided me with a great opportunity to learn how to do things on my own, without the assistance of an outside vendor or IT company.
It also helped me to realize not only just how expensive it is to put together a CME program but also that it doesn’t have to be that way, if you don’t want it to be.
And that’s what I hope you take away from this and many of the other sessions in the Technology track: given all of the advancements in technology, you have fewer and fewer reasons to say “I can’t” when it comes to creating CE or other projects for your office, no matter how small your organization.
Here’s a quick example of what I’m talking about. I can remember spending hours putting together How-To demos using screenshots of my desktop and pasting them into Word with text descriptions. They did the job, but were both time and labor intensive.
But now, I can use one of my favorite new tools, Screenr (which you just know must be cutting-edge by the way it’s spelled), to take a screen capture video of my desktop and create and even more effective How-To demo in a fraction of the time.
Screenr is really simple to use and you can create up to a 5 minute screencast for the low-price of zero dollars.
Or, how about something a little more complex? How about a virtual conference where you can have a panel of speakers
from across the globe and streaming video that allows anyone with an internet connection to watch and participate in Q&A?
And how about if that streaming video can then be automatically archived to create an enduring internet activity?
And to top it off, how about if the technology that allows you to do this is also completely free? That is the capability provided by Google Hangouts, specifically, the Hangouts On-Air feature, which, in my opinion, has been vastly underutilized as an educational too.
Let’s take this idea one step farther and bring something like WordPress into the picture. Many of you probably know WordPress as just a blogging platform, but it can be utilized for so much more than just that.
Say you’re a small organization that can’t afford the expense of your own Learning Management System. You can use WordPress to create your own mini-LMS.
You can take that Google Hangout video that is now archived in YouTube, embed it on your WordPress site
and add one of the survey modules available to WordPress users that will allow you to create a post-test, evaluation, and customized certificate. You can create a full online CME activity with little to no coding experience.
I’ve done it. It’s not that hard. The cost of the WordPress site and survey module will set you back about a hundred bucks. No, it’s not free, but pretty darn cheap when you consider the alternatives.
When I look at all the tools that are now available to us as educators, I truly believe that we are running out of excuses for saying I can’t. If there is something you want to do, there is most likely a tool out there
that will help you do it, cheaply and effectively. In 5 minutes I have told you about 3 of them and you are going to hear about even more over the next few days through the sessions during the technology track.
I encourage you to find a tool that fills a need for you, learn more about it, and give it a try. As my dad would say, never say I can’t. You can – you just need to figure out how.