Much Ado About Writing

Probably one of the most disappointing conferences I’ve ever attended.

I’ve been to conferences where I’ve disagreed with points shared by speakers.
But this one really was disappointing on a number of levels.

I was going to rant about the details of this conference, but I’m trying to hold back.  I know, makes for boring reading, but I’m trying to be a little civil.

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2 responses to “Much Ado About Writing

  1. Why was it disappointing? Moron speakers, uninteresting things, unmet expectations?

  2. The flyer for the conference had an enticing spread of breakout sessions to choose from, including many with “technology-infused writing” kinds of ideas. I was pumped to see that a statewide convention for writing teachers would have any mention at all of technology (much less several sessions to participate in).

    I even got my wife to make the 3 hour trip with me. When we arrived, we quickly found out that two of the breakouts we were planning on attending had been canceled. I understand that such things happen (and even know the background to one of them), so that wasn’t the end of the world, especially since there were many other breakouts to choose from.

    The first breakout we attended was about online courses – use of things like moodle or class blogmeister. We did enjoy that session quite a bit.

    Then there was the first (so-called) keynote. I won’t mention the name of the speaker or the main topic. The biggest problem was the style of delivery. It was like listening to an automated customer service voice read a peer-edited journal on writing. By the time he was five minutes into the delivery, the back half of the audience had their laptops open to work on other things or their cell phones open to text whomever. He also had a PowerPoint projected up behind him – I estimated the word per slide average to be about 75. Honestly. And he was reading verbatim what was up there.

    When did we learn to not do that? – 8th grade? – Save for the front row (God have mercy – they were forced to be polite and maintain some eye contact), I can’t imagine anyone else was able to imbibe the droning for more than a minute at a time.

    Okay, that was the worst part of the day. Can you tell?

    From there, it really couldn’t have gotten worse.

    I did attend a breakout where UW-Stevens Point and two Wisconsin schools had a really neat “online” interaction (the tech ended up failing, but they worked it out). It was an neat example of what is out there.

    So that was a positive.

    The two hour lunch (yes, 2 hours) was coupled with an awards program for various sectors in education (mainly writing teachers). That seemed a bit of a lot of time where the audience was just that – an audience who was learning nothing about good writing pedagogy.

    Sooo…this ended up being more critical than I initially wanted to be…but since it was elicited, I guess I had to share.

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