Done doing keynotes

George Siemens, Venture Beat, Sept 08, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

George Siemenss reporgts that he will no longer be doing keynote addresses. "I don’t feel that I’m giving my audiences a sufficient quality of dialogue and insight to match the scope of the challenges facing education." Fair enough. I'd rather he gave up writing academic papers (but that's just me - I see academic papers as even less interactive than keynotes). I am not done with giving keynotes - but then, I put in far fewer hours in the air than George (even though I'm writing this post in a Heathrow restaraunt) and I think I approach keynotes differently. I don't have a standard talk; each keynote is unique. I have concepts and themes that I draw on and return to, of course. But I try to tackle a different question, and draw on different experiences, each time I talk.

Keynotes force me to think to a deadline, and most of my major concepts have come to fruition in that magic time between 5:00 a.m. and the time I take to the stage. But I'm also informed by the time between keynotes - stretches of weeks and often months - where I get my hands dirty writing software, write project proposals and defend them to very sceptical colleagues, pull together opin online courses, and of course write my daily newsletter (a process that brings me into contact with hundreds of educators every week). All this is to say that i don't think we've seen the last of George Siemens - probably we're seeing the beginning of his next phase. And that's a good thing.

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