Second round of program

This week I delivered my second and third presentations, one right after another! It was a busy day here, and I got to do this late on Saturday, as visitors were collecting for that night’s bat flight. My program focuses on explaining how thermal imagery is used to census bats and on how high speed photography helps us understand the flight pattern of Brazilian Free Tails here at Carlsbad Caverns. In general, I have found that visitors are eager to learn more about our bats and that they are quite receptive to learning about the technologies used to study the bats.

My programs ran much more smoothly than the first one, as practice and rehearsal allowed me to avoid the first time snafus. I am still finding it a challenge to elicit responses and comments from my audience, many visitors seem content to absorb what I say without interacting. After I finished my scheduled program, more visitors entered the theater, so having time, I gave the presentation to this new audience. It was a little tiring, but I enjoyed the chance to get extra practice right away.

After thinking about my program afterward, I have decided for now to take out the high speed photography material and focus on just thermal imaging. I think I was trying to do a little too much and believe the program will benefit from a tighter focus. In addition, I like the fact that the articles in the iSWOOP resources page provide some great exposition of this technology. I will revise my program this week, and give it again this Saturday.

2 thoughts on “Second round of program

  1. Hi Walter,
    As I look over the feedback from January to June, I see that interpreters recorded more visitor questions related to the thermal images than to the high speed video. Your instinct is to focus on thermal imaging and I’d say that the response prior to this summer bears out your choice.

    As to the challenge of getting audience response, I’m wondering what questions you’ve put to the group. Eric gets the most response I’ve seen when he sets up a challenge, tells people he wants to know what they see, and then flashes an image. Kids are dying to share: pink trees, a horse, a face, an island. And adults share too. What makes that such a sweet, evocative question? Is it in part because he’s already asked harder questions and by this point the audience is relieved to get an easy to answer question? Or they expect it? They are warmed up by that point. Or it’s because the answer is an individual experience–only that person knows what he or she just viewed. No right or wrong answers. Maybe you’ll get a chance to observe or talk with Eric and then you can adopt that which seems to work and feels like a good fit for you and your program.

    On a related topic, I’ve been thinking about how reticent I felt when Nick invited us to come up and experiment with the audio app. He was authentic enough in the invitation and the group felt safe, so what held me and others back? Just being visible as the one who is going to the front, making herself noticeable to everyone. One technique to pose the question, but to encourage everyone to answer your question or discuss the puzzle/conundrum with a partner or their family/travel group. Then take a couple volunteers to share with the entire group. It may take a minute for the participants to respond, but then a happy buzz usually ensues.

    By the way, I love your title.
    All for now. Thank you for sharing and for weaving in the questions about learning.



  2. Hey Walter, Thanks for the thoughtful reflection. I agree with you and Martha, less can be more….especially if you leave open time for exploration to really get at talking with the visitors (as opposed to talking at them). I also struggle in my classes getting students to respond to questions… maybe its a variety of question types, I found simple observations are less intimidating for people to speak to, so maybe start with those…like (what do you think we are looking at?, what does it look like to you? Do it remind you of anything else that you’ve seen before?). Just some ideas. Keep us posted!


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