Thursday, November 21, 2002

But I Have Slides!

I am in the middle of at least four projects, not counting some correspondence I should be taking care of. One of these projects involves developing a new school presentation for two jobs I have lined up this winter.

This presentation is on the history behind Tess LeClerc's Ethan Allen report in The Hero of Ticonderoga. In addition to creating the text, I'm working on planning slides, which my webmaster (have I mentioned that he is a god?) will make in a PowerPoint program. I will then have to drive that program to a film developer about an hour from here where the PowerPoint slides will be made into traditional slides. (Because no matter what you've heard about the wonders of PowerPoint, most of the schools and libraries I deal with don't use it.) Then I'll have to drive back there the next day to pick everything up. Right now I'm just outlining the presentation so we can get the slides done before Christmas. My first presentation is in the middle of January, and I need lots of time to work on the text and practice because of this performance anxiety issue of mine.

Yeah, I know. You now know far more about me than you want to.

The point I'm getting to is that as fascinating as the history related to Ethan Allen is--I could just go on and on about it--I'm worried that kids won't find, say, the Puritans as interesting as I do. Even though I have a slide of Cotton Mather. I'm hopeful they'll like my material on smallpox in the Revolutionary era, though. Who wouldn't like smallpox? Why a professor named Elizabeth Fenn likes it so much she's written an entire book called Pox Americana on the subject of smallpox during the Revolutionary War. I haven't read that book and probably won't, but my point still stands--smallpox is interesting stuff. Ah, but the Enlightenment...My gut feeling is that without the Enlightenment those of us who are not descended from aristocrats would still be living in huts and turning in a percentage of what we make to the lord of the manor. Because of the Enlightenment, learning matters. (Unless I totally don't understand that period, which, of course, is possible.) But will kids, who are probably more than a little ticked off because they have to go to school and learn nearly every day of their lives going to see the value of that? Even though I have a color slide of John Locke to flash on a screen while I talk about his enlightened philosophy?

I'll keep you posted.

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