I keep coming back to Mindy McAdams' penultimate slide before sending the 25 brain-weary journalism profs back to the hotel after more than six hours at the institute.
Pssst! My own secret
I have usually learned technology that I teach in class less than one week before the first time I taught it!
You don’t need to be an expert; you just need to know a little more than the parts you will teach!
That's right. Mindy McAdams, multimedia guru, author of the pioneering textbook Flash Journalism, a woman whose name turns up 77,400 entries on a Google search, doesn't know it all.
And to teach this stuff we don't have to either.
All we have to do is learn a little, read/view/listen to a lot and know how to navigate an online tutorial.
McAdams, a professor of journalism at the University of Florida, recited the reasons journalism educators give for not transforming their curricula:
“We don’t know how”
“We don’t have equipment”
“We don’t know what they’re doing in these newsrooms”
"If we want to train students to think different, then we’ve got to do it ourselves," she said.
Take database reporting, for example. All those numbers, all those spreadsheets. What's a math-phobic journalism professor to do?
McAdams offered five concrete, simple things any journalism educator could do today without learning a single new skill:
* Assign articles by or about Adrian Holovaty
* Study EveryBlock
* Discuss any New York Times data project
* Assign a project to be built with Atlas
* Use exercises from National Institute for Computer Assisted Reporting to teach Excel.
McAdams and the other faculty for this week's seminar--Al Tompkins and Ellyn Angelotti of the Poynter Institute and Regina McCombs, a senior producer for multimedia for The Star Tribune--had other inspiring things to say, but I'm too bushed to report them right now. And in ten hours I have to be back at the institute for another mind-numbing but inspiring day.
You can check out McAdams' presentation, as well as other course materials, on her Web site. I'll share other links as I get them.