July 1, 2008

NECC idea: Game show sessions and the wisdom of crowds

Filed under: necc,necc08 — Candace Hackett Shively @ 1:53 pm

This post is from the Bloggers’ Cafe at NECC in San Antonio.

I know this sound facetious, but I am serious. I had two ideas for new types of NECC sessions for 2009, since several BYOL sessions have been “closed” due to fire safety regs. Clearly there is a real desire to participate in every session, whether lecture or BYOL. Live bloggers and multi-taskers outline the perimeter of all seating space, strategically sitting in end seats and on the floor in aisles close to wall outlets or for quick movement to the next popular session.

So here are two possible session formats, both with audience participation: Name a Use Challenge and Teach Me Now

Option 1: Name-a-Use Challenge (actually, I am seriously considering OFFERING this session, so please be ethical and do not steal it without checking with me first).

As they enter, audience members are assigned onto teams for competition (and perhaps prizes from some willing vendor?). Team members need not sit together.

Audience members may also volunteer to serve as one of a panel of 5  judges for the competition/collaboration. The judging team may meet F2F or remain in their seats in relative anonymity. I haven’t decided about that yet.

The session begins with the audience providing their personal suggestions of favorite or interesting web 2.0 tools, one per person. This submission could be done in real time (via web 2.0 tool, of course).  Offline audience members can meet their laptop neighbors or walk to an aisle-sitter to have their choices submitted by proxy. Immediately, points are awarded for for the more obscure or unique offerings. Duplicate offerings gain no score.

Web 2.0 tools are then presented randomly , with the original submitter explaining the tool’s capability in 30 seconds or less.  Judges can award points for particularly powerful descriptions, but penalties will be assessed for providing the “answers” for how to use the tool. (Already the judges are under pressure). Members of the “receiving” team have an opportunity for a 60 second collaboration  (any way they wish) and to “answer” with ideas for “ways to use this tool effectively in support of teaching and learning.” The responding team  garners points for ideas, with extra weight for pedagogically sound, unusual, creative, or other “bonuses,” all determined by the judging panel. All ideas are recorded online for later review and sharing beyond the session.

Teams alternate, responding to as many tool options as time permits.

Comments and discussion, real and virtual, are welcome from all participants. Judges have permission to change the rules at any time, provided they can reach consensus on said changes.

This session has everything: the wisdom of the crowd, practical ideas, collaboration in real time and after, and competition. A little humor won’t hurt,either. And I’d love to be the emcee. It’s no different than working with 100 middle school gifted kids…

Option two: Teach Me Now!

This session format presents new (and not so new) tools with audience participants as guinea pigs. Audience members volunteer, saying they are willing to act as guinea pigs, learning the tool in front of the audience. The actual guinea pigs can be selected randomly from those who offer. The guinea pig’s  (or 2-3 guinea pigs’) screen(s)  is(are)shared with the entire audience. The presenter proceeds to “teach” the tool or technique to the guinea pig(s). Audience members are encouraged to chime in with ideas and or strategies at stop-and-swap points during the session. they may also “follow along,” silently learning the tool from their own laptops.  At any  stop-and-swap  point, a guinea pig may ask to be “swapped” with someone from the audience. 

Audience members who are simply “watching” can comment or send kudos to the teacher and/or guinea pigs at any time during the session for moral support or extension.

I haven’t figured out how to add competition to this format of collaboration. Maybe this one would be better for those who are a bit afraid to try without seeing how easy something is? If they are afraid to be on the “stage,” they can still participate silently.

Just some thoughts…


  1. LOVE these ideas! The Teach Me Now would be perfect for a big session like NECC. Thanks for sharing such great ideas and let us know when you offer these.


    Comment by Danita Russell — July 1, 2008 @ 2:52 pm

  2. […] NECC idea: Game show sessions and the wisdom of crowds Audience members may also volunteer to serve as one of a panel of 5 judges for the competition/collaboration. The judging team may meet F2F or remain in their seats in relative anonymity. I haven’t decided about that yet. … […]

    Pingback by Audience » Blog Archive » NECC idea: Game show sessions and the wisdom of crowds — July 2, 2008 @ 1:00 am

  3. I like both of these ideas, particularly because they offer a higher degree of participation than most sessions – and they tap into the brain power of those in the room. I hope you submit, and I hope it these get chosen. If not, I think they’d make great Edubloggercon sessions or NECC Unplugged sessions.

    Comment by Mark Wagner — July 3, 2008 @ 5:02 pm

  4. […] in which participants created a lesson plan together. Candace Hackett Shively also posted some great new ideas for interactive sessions as a reflection on the conference. This is the first and strongest lesson […]

    Pingback by Educational Technology and Life » Blog Archive » Post-NECC Reflections (With Thanks and an Apology to Steve Hargadon) — July 4, 2008 @ 4:03 am

  5. Great ideas. I agree with Danita for big sessions. If you get the right “guinea pigs” you could award points & vote for who created the best product in the short time frame like “Who’s Line is it Anyways”, or “Around the Horn” – for you sports fans! I also love the group idea, but the reason I like both is because they are engaging & letting participants participate! Crazy idea!

    Comment by Mark Carls — July 4, 2008 @ 6:53 am

  6. I LOVE the ideas….and think that either of these types of sessions was what was missing for me at NECC this year. Sorry we didn’t have more opportunity to connect. Hope you will bring these ideas to Educon this winter :)

    Comment by Kristin Hokanson — July 6, 2008 @ 9:23 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.