In November 2019, I was preparing to speak at a Professional Day event on Concept Based Curriculum. I prepared the content, rehearsed it multiple times, and felt ready to go. As the session began and people were filling the room, I was finishing the setup of my presentation, which on this day was being done via Google Slides. I welcomed everyone and without even really thinking about it, I explained that I was going to be using my slide deck hosted on Google Slides and for ‘fun’ I would be turning on the live closed captioning that is offered as a tool. People were in shock. They had no idea that Google Slides had this option. So of course, people were starting to ask questions and discuss how this tool could be used in their classroom. I took a few questions, showed a few of the features, and then eventually moved onto my presentation for the day. After the session ended, I had a number of conversations with people regarding implementing a concept based curriculum, but I also had just as many people talk to me about the feature I introduced at the beginning of the session.
I reflect on this because it is easy to forget that there are so many little ‘tricks’ and ‘tools’ out there. What I think is a little and fun ‘trick’, can be significant and have a large impact on others. As I did in this presentation, even though the topic people wanted to discuss was not around my primary objective, I needed to stop and engage with others who were curious and excited to learn. This ‘rabbit trail’ took a maximum of 5 minutes, but the lasting impact it had on a number of teachers’ teaching practice was changed. They could’t get back to class fast enough to try this new tool out. As an instructional leader, I also need to remember that my staff and colleagues are always watching how and why I do what I do. For a presentation, I attempted to engage with the audience in a variety of ways. I spoke to them, but I also had what I was saying right on the screen as it happened. This allowed everyone to be engaged in a way that was most useful to them. Even though the primary focus of a discussion or presentation is important, it is all the side aspects that can sometime have the largest impact.