My First Presentation in the Wild

Hello! So I am still getting back into the hang of things after a busy week last week. I gave my first academic non-classroom presentation on Friday and I spent most of the last week getting ready for it. So, I thought I’d unpack how it went and talk a little about the how the day went and my research.

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First, I’m eternally the last minute buzzer beater when it comes to deadlines. So, it follows that though I had practiced my speech several times and felt confident in it, I had not completed my presentation slides by Friday. I mean, I worked on the content all week but there were no pretty pictures or graphs or anything. Thursday night, around midnight, I started booting up Steam to take screen shots of different games I’d mentioned in my slides. I only got a little distracted.

When 3:00 AM rolled around, I hit the sack. Waking up a little late, I jumped in the car unshaven (but dressed!) and flew down the road to Stillwater. From where I live, it’s about a two-hour drive. Not terrible, but enough to make me nervous on just 3 hours of sleep.

I decided it was best to listen to something that would keep me awake. Music tends to make me sleepy. Instead, I booted up the Adventure Zone podcast. It’s 3 brothers and their dad playing D&D together. I like their brand of humor overall and they keep things entertaining.

Arriving at OSU, I ran to the parking authority (I  was already a little late). Got a parking permit and then spent nearly half an hour searching for a spot. Every staff lot seemed full or hidden.

Anyway, I made it to the library. The building is gorgeous (if I hadn’t been so tired I’d have spent the rest of the afternoon looking around). There is a water feature outside, a grand staircase in the entryway, and a formal reading room (where the conference was).

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Things started out well. There was a talk by the New Literacy Alliance. This was stirring! They talked about different initiatives to spread multiliteracy or metaliteracy to library instruction across the nation. It was the kind of talk you jump up from and start teaching right there.

The rest of the morning was good. Lots more good speakers. As the time clicked away, however, the day edged toward my talk. Between sessions, I would pop open my laptop and make small changes to my presentation. Practice it in my head again. Panic. Drink coffee. Panic some more. Change my name to just “Daniel Pool”… Type the “J.” back in… Italicize the “J.” and then undo.

Finally, it was time! I stood triumphantly with my flash drive in hand. But the coordinator told me to jump in the lunch line instead. I was a little relieved but also still in that ready-to-go phase. So I ate (AMAZING TACOS) and got my presentation loaded on the main computer.

When given the signal, I started off. Things went okay. Went completely dry mouthed as expected. Jumped and ahead and backward as expected. Got halfway through and completely forgot a slide (aka the ‘why you are all hearing me’ slide). However, I think it went well. The audience seemed very interested in what I had to say and there were lots of engagement and questions afterward. I used Pokemon GO as an example of an entry level game to try and I think some actually downloaded it while they were there. I saw at least a few librarians catching digital monsters before I left.

I did forget to push record on my laptop so I don’t have a video from the event. I’ll just have to record something later as an overview of what it was like.

Walked back to my car after the rest of the presentations and collapsed into the driver’s seat. Over the hour drive south to OKC, I started to feel much lighter and free. I even stopped in at Game HQ for a quick celebratory gift to myself. Then finished my trek home for some much-deserved rest video game playing research. The unCoiled crew made me feel welcomed and appreciated. All-in-all, it was a great first presentation.

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The talk was about ‘games literacy’ and why it’s important. As I was doing research on making an information literacy game, I found people who didn’t know how to play games at all. So I had to take a step back and teach people how to play a game at all and then how to play the game I’d made. So one step back and two steps forward. For this group, I wanted to get across that games have value in today’s society. Or rather that, games have a place in the library. Then that they number one way to ensure a good games program is to be knowledgeable in games as the organizer. So, having basic games literacy is an important skill for anyone looking to latch onto games as a resource.

Well, that was my Friday. I hope to get back to writing on the regular. I have lots of new thoughts to share and projects to brag on. Thank you for reading and I’ll be back soon!

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