In article <5cd596d605080413076e56006c / mail.gmail.com>,
Jim Freeze  <jimfreeze / gmail.com> wrote:
>On 8/4/05, Phil Tomson <ptkwt / aracnet.com> wrote:
>>=20
>> Last night in Portland we had a very good turnout for FOSCON (the Free
>> Open Source Convention).  Speakers included:
>>  - Why the lucky stiff (Music, shadow puppets, audience participation
>> via drb, Rubyfun, animated Least Surprised)
>>=20
>> Why's performance is hard to describe.  Suffice it to say he had us all
>> in stitches.  I think he's really on to something with this drb/irb
>> audience participation thing. At a greedier venue patents would be
>> filed. This will no doubt set the trend in interactive presentations for
>> years to come.  Perhaps the end of PowerPoint is near. The age of
>> mixed-media drb-enabled shadow puppets is here.
>
>Please describe more about this drb/irb.
>

He had people fire up irb and then displayed some code they would need to 
log into his drb server running on his laptop.  As each person logged in 
the colors on the projected screen changed and it would divide into 
different regions so you could tell how many people were logged in.  
Audience members could 
change colors on Why's display by changine their code in irb.  It was 
very cool... though some wise guy changed part of the screen to 
white-on-white which made it impossible to 
read the code on that section (but Why got some jokes out of this too).
Why's talk was extremely funny so it can be easy to overlook the fact 
that this was a very innovative idea for creating an interactive 
presentation.  Most presentations are all one-sided: A speaker delivers 
some information to an audience - there may be a Q&A session afterwards, 
but other than that it's not interactive at all.  What Why did last 
night, I've not seen before: He invited the audience to directly 
participate and even effect his presentation.  This aspect deserves a lot 
more examination.

One can imagine variations on this theme: For example you could run a 
webrick server on your laptop and allow audience members to interact with 
(and potentially effect) your presentation through their browsers.  Lots 
of potential uses: audience voting in real time, for example.  Code 
contests with the audience.  It's great for tutorials (This is how Why 
used it): you get people to actually try out the code you're talking 
about with some kind of feedback to the speaker.  Nobody gets bored.

I think that Ruby historians and sociologists will look at this 
event as a seminal development in the direction of interactive teaching.
Oh, and two shadow puppet birds debated teaching methodologies just 
prior to this part of the show - that was no accident.


Phil