Identify the type of session you have been called upon to present.
That's the number one rule for presenting on edtech.
Once you answer that, then you lower your chances of having any missing links, and you are fired-up, ready to approach the session with the right mindset, activities, and questions to keep your audience engaged and move you closer to your professional goals.
Will it be a demonstration, a training, or a professional or faculty development session? And one of the easiest ways to figure this out for sure is to ...
... ask the organizer “What do you want the audience to know or to be able to do upon the conclusion of this session?” Feel free to ask that of everyone connected to the session. Seriously. If you are working with five different people to set-up an edtech presentation, then ask that question five times.
If it is a demo, then it is a pre-sale situation, and you have a point-and-click type of scenario. The audience has heard the name of the product and may have watched a video on it or had a brief conversation with you or another a sales representative about it, just scratching the surface. In a demo, you spend your time placing all of the features in the best light, methodically pointing out what the technology can do. In short, you are answering the questions "What is it?" and "What does it do?" There is not necessarily a lot of audience engagement during a demo because the audience is in discovery mode. Do take time for questions, but allow the audience to create its own questions such as “Can you go back to X?” or “What does Y do?”
If it is a training, then it is likely a post-sale situation. The customer has fallen in love with the product - or likes it a lot! - and has adopted it, and now you are showing the audience how to use the product. In this instance, you offer instruction and guidance for how to manipulate the product’s options and features. Simply put, you are answering the questions "How do I use it?" and "What can I do with it?" In a training situation, there is not a lot of pressure on the presenter to build in opportunities for engagement because engagement tends to be organic. Trainings are meant for the audience to have a hands-on experience. Wait a minute, though. You are not completely off the hook when it comes to audience engagement because you’ll want to have questions that address comprehension. Show the steps again, then ask “What questions do you have about this?” (And I hasten to add avoid asking "Is everyone clear? and here's why: There will be someone who is NOT clear but who will not self-identify because the tenor of the question suggests everyone SHOULD be clear.)
Finally, if the session is professional or faculty development, then it is post-sale and goes beyond a training. In a professional development scenario, you combine the what and the how to advance and expand the audience’s understanding of the product, and you move into explaining the why. In a professional or faculty development environment, you are answering questions such as "Why should I use it?" and "Why is it a benefit?" In a professional or faculty development instance, you want to give participants time to think, to think about what the information means for them and their students, to explore the possibilities, to become cognitively moved.
In any one of these instances, you run the risk of information overload! Here's how to avoid that.