Lights on please, any questions? Prototyping a new discussion culture

It is a ritual that I have seen for may years. All lights are switched on after a talk and the race starts for the microphones.
These are not always the best questions that are being asked after a talk. And as there is a time limit, not all questions will be asked. And why are these  only oral questions while the lecture was multimedia?

Apart from the fact that asking a question is  a mini-presentation of people who are not suffering from low self esteem, I think we may indeed develop new tools of communication.

Here is my current experimental setup. I open a local hotspot before the lecture where up to 250 mobile devices (phone, tablet, laptop) can connect.  Each of these clients in the audience gets a comment / upload screen when following instructions given on the first slide.



All audience response is being written to a database, while attached diagrams or screenshots are being saved to a cache directory.

The talk itself is not displayed from Powerpoint but from Chrome in presentation mode. Basically this is just one single presentation page built dynamically with one  divs per slide.  Next slide just means scrolling to the next div and can be controlled from any tablet or phone.

Periodically the presentation page is being appended with further divs containing new question slides from the audience.

After the end of the talk, we can go to the admin page, where we may jump to single questions and display them just like the slides from my own talk.


But what is so much different now to the current practice?

  • Questions are asked in time.
  • Everybody can see the questions –  no need for any microphone.
  • There is nothing is lost as we can review the questions even weeks later.

If you interested in testing, I would be happy to share further details. The only thing you need is a local WLAN router and access to the command line where a local web server is being started.