Search on SLJ.com ....
Subscribe to SLJ
Follow This Blog: RSS feed
Neverending Search
Inside Neverending Search

Geeks just wanna have fun: or Smackdown, schmackdown

v:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
o:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
w:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);}
.shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);}

0
false

18 pt
18 pt
0
0

false
false
false

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-parent:”";
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

0
false

18 pt
18 pt
0
0

false
false
false

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-parent:”";
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:10.0pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

Yeah, yeah.  I know. 

It’s not about the tools. 

But somehow, every single time I attend a smackdown, I return to school with learning ideas and curricular strategies that stick.

As far as I can tell the technology tools smackdowns all started at EduBloggerCon at NECC08, with Vicki Davis (aka coolcatteacher) at the helm.  The energy and the spirit of sharing at that initial speed demo session inspired us all.  So much so, that many of us carried that smackdown format on to other conferences and other organizations.

Though the boxing metaphor is not especially pretty, and although these events are better described as enthusiastic share sessions than competitive events, the name kinda stuck and  I didn’t give it too much thought as I helped put together library-specific smackdowns at last year’s NECC/ISTE, ALA, and AASL.

Collaborative sharing session simply doesn’t scream sexy like Smackdown does.  (More on the naming issue in a little bit.)

As our Google Teacher Academy drew to a close last week, Marcie and Lucy and I thought it might be fun to end that intense learning experience with a bit of loose and spirited sharing. So we pulled together an end-of-session Smackdown. 

And what resulted was another passionate experience, as we self-proclaimed geeks shared tools for learning and tools to help us better organize our lives.

Among my takeaways for our session (which is archived more completely on Drop.io)

  • Fresh Brain Online space for learning to do java programming, music mashup, 3D game design, Smartphone apps, Facebook apps, animation, video editing, etc.

  • Museum Box: This site provides the tools for you to build up an argument or description of an event, person or historical period by placing items in a virtual box.

  • MeetingWizard.com Great for organizing big groups for a meeting.  Doodle, one of my favorite planning tools was also recommended.

  • Webpages as Graphs Use this site to determine how sites and constructed and assess credibility. It can also be used when constructing student sites.

  • Glogster to engage and educate students and staff. (Examples shared: Pirate-cy WebQuest and and staff tutorials, I

  • Word Cloud generators and tricks:


And now, let’s return to smackdown as a semantic issue.
 
A couple of days ago, I discovered that my PLN friends Bud and Diane had a conversation about Smackdowns at around the same time we were sharing in D.C.  In fact, Diane blogged about the exchange. 

Here’s what the Twitter discussion looked like:

budtheteacher: @dmcordell http://twitpic.com/sy03j

5 minutes later from Tweetie · Reply · View Tweet

budtheteacher:"Smackdowns" as tool showcases strike me as silly and odd. Am I the only person who feels that way?
dmcordell
: @budtheteacher Is it the name or the concept that you don’t like?
budtheteacher
: @dmcordell Both. The frenzy for tool oneupsmanship is troublesome, as is the idea of the smacking. Mostly the smacking, though.
dmcordell
: @budtheteacher Well, it’s really more like smacking cards down on the table. Offers a quick intro to sites, generates interest in tech
budtheteacher
: @dmcordell Tool frenzy. Is that a good thing?
budtheteacher
: @dmcordell http://twitpic.com/sy03j
dmcordell
: http://twitpic.com/sy33h@budtheteacher Can’t we redefine and repurpose words?
dmcordell
: @budtheteacher I think of it more as raising awareness or suggesting possibilities.
dmcordell
: @budtheteacher My experience is limited to the Joyce Valenza/Geek Squad SmackDowns. Everyone is a winner there, especially the audience.
budtheteacher: @dmcordell Of course. But I don’t think the term is being repurposed. These things are generally competitive and they have winners.

Diane ends her blog post with this:

By and large, Teacher Librarians tend to emphasize gathering, sharing, and nurturing. Bud may have had a very different smack down experience, but when Joyce and the Geek Squad are facilitating, the only thing that gets "smacked" is ignorance.

So, what do you folks think? 

What I love about these sessions is that they do provide a bit of escape from the more serious conference sessions.  They share the microphone.  As I said when we opened the event in Charlotte, they expand the room in both time and space, pulling on its collective wisdom, in many cases allowing others listening in the backchannel a voice.  The fact that our resources and ideas are archived and continue to grow expands the room in sense of time.

Does what we choose to call these sessions make a difference?  I am not sure.  The label seems to attract audience.

For me, the label is largely tongue-in-cheek.  A self-conscious poke at our geekiness.  Most of these sessions encourage participants to connect tools to learning and strategies.  Most participants tend to do this whether or not encouraged.

From what I’ve observed, these are not competitive events.

In addition to opening the room, what we call smackdowns, are for me are a time to lighten up a bit, have a little fun,  hear from folks we haven’t yet heard from, and to hear just how passionite they are about sharing.

Let’s change the name if folks don’t like it, but please let’s keep the fun and the sharing going at our confs!

clip image002 Geeks just wanna have fun: or Smackdown, schmackdown

dmcordell: @budtheteacher I think of it more as raising awareness or suggesting possibilities.

1 day ago from web · Reply · View Tweet

clip image004 Geeks just wanna have fun: or Smackdown, schmackdown

budtheteacher: @dmcordell Of course. But I don’t think the term is being repurposed. These things are generally competitive and they have winners.

2 minutes later from Tweetie · Reply · View Tweet

clip image006 Geeks just wanna have fun: or Smackdown, schmackdown

dmcordell: @budtheteacher My experience is limited to the Joyce Valenza/Geek Squad SmackDowns. Everyone is a winner there, especially the audience.

14 minutes later from web · Reply · View Tweet

clip image008 Geeks just wanna have fun: or Smackdown, schmackdown

dmcordell: @budtheteacher Is it the name or the concept that you don’t like?

about 2 hours later from web · Reply · View Tweet

clip image010 Geeks just wanna have fun: or Smackdown, schmackdown

budtheteacher: @dmcordell Both. The frenzy for tool oneupsmanship is troublesome, as is the idea of the smacking. Mostly the smacking, though.

19 minutes later from Tweetie · Reply · View Tweet

clip image012 Geeks just wanna have fun: or Smackdown, schmackdown

dmcordell: @budtheteacher Well, it’s really more like smacking cards down on the table. Offers a quick intro to sites, generates interest in tech.

43 minutes later from web · Reply · View Tweet

clip image014 Geeks just wanna have fun: or Smackdown, schmackdown

budtheteacher: @dmcordell Tool frenzy. Is that a good thing?

7 minutes later from Tweetie · Reply · View Tweet

share save 171 16 Geeks just wanna have fun: or Smackdown, schmackdown
Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is the teacher-librarian at Springfield Township High School, a technology writer, and a blogger. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

Comments

  1. Brenda D Anderson says:

    Yes, we do love to have fun and remember our friend Willy
    From Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, 1594:

    JULIET:
    ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
    Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
    What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
    Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
    Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
    What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet;….
    So I don’t have the answer about whether or not we should change the name, but I love the sharing, the excitement and the fun of the smackdown. It’s a time to make new friends and embrace our own personal learning.

  2. Gwyneth Jones says:

    Ok…maybe I’m a bit biased but I LOVES me some Smackdown!

    I loved it when I was an enthused audience member …waking from the typical conference stupor to be energized by a guided but free-flowing exchange of great ideas from people who were EXCITED! to when I was a member of said panel & geek squad bringing the audience into the sharing and facilitating the idea exchange. The energy in the room was AWEsome & it was SRO!

    The name is COOL! And it’s SEXY!

    And Diane is right….what’s being smacked down is ignorance and apathy… and we CAN re-purpose words, can’t we? I say, let the Smackdowns continue! ….Heck, I’m instigating one at my state’s ISTE conference the MSET!

    Hey, at least we didn’t call it Fight Club!…first rule about Smackdown …don’t question the name Smackdown. /rant…and as always ALL MHO!

  3. joycevalenza says:

    Hooray! Thanks Brenda and Gwyneth and Diane. Let’s stick with the name, for now at least, and keep the good times rolling and the learning happening simultaneously at our confs. I say we let Gwyneth make the rules from now on.

  4. Gwyneth Jones says:

    OhmyWORD Now THAT is a very DANGEROUS thought! LOL Muwwwaaaaaa~!!!

  5. krisjacobson says:

    I *love* the name! I really enjoy professional wrestling (Smackdown is the name of the WWE’s Friday night show), so I’m biased, but I think it sounds fun and entertaining. Honestly, my interest in wrestling aside, why do we as librarians want to walk away from a name that is fresh & fun? What are they going to try to replace it with? Something boring & studious sounding “Learning Circles”? “Show and Share”? Blah!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] and slightly competitive resource sharing–may be a little confusing (we’ve blogged about that), it again allowed us to achieve a couple of important things, and kinda sweetly, [...]

Speak Your Mind

*