At scanFOAM we love SoMe and all of our “internet friends”, so much so that we want our “real life friends” to meet our “internet friends” when opportunities arise. Therefore, Camilla stood no chance after a few times having said “That twitter, blog, smacc, podcast -thing.. teach me, show me, I want to know more!”. A link to The Teaching Institute was sent her way with the words “come with me to TTC” and boom! Camilla was set up to join me and the rest of the crowd in NYC.
— Camilla Birgitte Sørensen (@Camillabirgitte) November 19, 2016
Read on below for her first guest blogpost where she describes her experience from this most wonderful time in NYC.
A beginner’s guide to The Teaching Course
Wonder what to expect if signing up for a 3-day course full of innovative teachings? I certainly did as I curiously enlisted for my first non-virtual encounter with the world of #FOAMed.
I wanted to go because I often find myself uninspired after attending educational sessions. I generally have a high internal motivation to learn, but that motivation is often lost in boring lectures and teaching interventions that don’t inspire. I dislike the way this makes me feel and it makes me wonder if sometimes I have that same effect on my learners.
I was looking for a place that could teach me better ways to engage learners. People who could lead the way and inspire me, be innovative and creative and shake things up. On top of that I hoped to connect with people in the process and gain new friends for continuous development.
So, having been, here is my list of what you can expect should you wish to embark on this journey yourself.
Expect to experience a deeply passionate and committed faculty
Passion was one of the keywords at this course. And that passion was felt way before the actual course as emails started to hit me with embedded podcasts and relevant articles indicating that these educators practice as they preach about flipping med ed. Faculty started to tweet their excitement about attending #TTCNYC16 and a pattern started to emerge; these people truly love their job! And they are at least as excited to attend as the participants, if not more. That passion is contagious and as inner motivation and excitement increases you start to think – hey, I actually do want to prepare for this course using the flipped classroom material. We all know how this can be a challenge, but something about how they flip and the passion they do it with makes it work.
Expect to experience the most committed co-participants
The participants at this course are an amazing crowd of passionate and dedicated educators. Already ignited from the flipped classroom material I realized that this culture is one I’d like to be a part of – not only for the people I teach, but also for me personally. Most of the people you meet have this exited look in their eyes, and they come from all over the world and from many professions. Vets, medical doctors, nurses, pharmacologists and many more united in one place with one main focus: Flipping the world of medical education to a dynamic, engaging, and learner-centered environment
This is therefore the place to grow your network – the workshops, the “talk to your neighbor for a few minutes” and the openness from all attendees all help you to make new friends. I know I met a few that are going to be for life.
Expect to be convinced about the fact that everyone hates (too many) bullet points and busy slides
True! As a medical student I figured that one out ages ago. But now I know why and what to do instead. I feel quite relieved that my presentation related narcolepsy is maybe just a symptom of (boring) unstimulating lectures and conference presentations.
You will leave with a large toolbox to create better slides and more inspiring talks. Go to the Day 1 recap for more details on presentations.
Expect to feel embarrassed about your previous preparation time
Up until now my conference talks have been created maybe two weeks in advance and practiced in front of the computer. I have felt prepared, but always very anxious about how it would work out in front of the audience. Where should I stand, where should I put my hands, would my punch lines be well received or fall straight to the ground? The teaching course will teach you that preparation should start even earlier, be detail specific (where should I stand, when should I move, and so on) and importantly: Your presentation must be practiced out loud in front of a small audience who can give you feedback before the real deal.
Geeks are the new black. Being a nerd about your presentations and what you put into the world now strikes me as cool. Ask yourself: Wouldn’t you love it if a teacher or presenter thought that you deserved endless hours of meticulous preparation to teach you about the subject they care about?
Expect to be surprised about the cultural differences
Not surprisingly some cultural differences between the different nationalities present at the course are to be expected. From my point of view: It seems like Scandinavia generally has is a more humanistic and learner involved approach to education. Learning is more of a process and a discovery and not so outcome related, evident in that we make much less use of testing and maybe to some extent trust our students and residents more to be in charge of their own learning. Neither approach is a holy grail, but there must be lessons for educators in examining differing approaches and their merits. Deliberately developing and optimising combinations of internal and external motivation relevant to your context and culture seems like a required path to excellent learning and to fostering excellent learners.
Expect to feel the power of motivation
The feeling of motivation can be almost overwhelming. So many things can be done you may not know where to start and what to choose to begin with on your own journey. Creating new slides for your presentation, opening a twitter account (yes, I truly am a newbie in this area of #FOAMed), better development of the curriculum, start podcasting, initiate better feedback procedures in your department, write blogposts and so on. You can’t do it all at once! And as many in the faculty pointed out – remember to take care of yourself. There will be a risk of burnout if you think you can do everything at once. Take care of yourself, online and offline, and logging off and looking up once in a while is recommended.
And then finally, expect to feel: S***, now what?
As the motivation grows and you look around and see all these inspiring people there is a risk of feeling sort of lost. I know I did. Figuring out what your role and your contribution in the #FOAMed and #SoMe world could be is maybe not as simple as Nike’s “Just do it”
But as in any new adventure, my role will evolve over time as I reflect on and process this igniting course. I feel this education environment will always welcome another set of dedicated hands. At the least it got me to write my very first blogpost.
A great big thanks to the faculty and the participants at the course for adding to my journey of becoming a better educator and a better learner. I feel blessed knowing that I now have a safety line and good people to turn to when I need help getting to the next level of educator awesomeness.
If you are considering going next year do know that there is room for everyone and that this could be the beginning of a very exciting journey.
You can listen to more thoughts about #TTCNYC16 from Camilla and others in this round up cast hosted by the St-Emlyn’s team:
We at scanFOAM hope we have inspired Camilla and hope that sharing this blogpost will get her to write even more with us. If you have a story or a topic you want to write about and think scanFOAM could be the place to share, please get in touch.