I'm sure you've heard by now that my 15 year old son Matthew is teaching at RootsTech next week. We are all so excited and proud of him. He attended the youth activities last year. He came away with a thirst for learning more about how to do it. Over the next months I tried to get him involved in learning more at the conferences we attended but he didn't want to learn from the adults. So when the call for papers for RootsTech came around, I said "Put your money where your mouth is." If you want to learn from a kid, you have to be that kid.
We put together a proposal and his sense of humor came shining through. He titled it "Get to Know Your Geezers." He proposed that he teach about how to look for sources in three of the largest websites--FamilySearch, My Heritage, and Ancestry. They accepted it and we were on our way. He is teaching twice on Saturday and the youth portion of the conference is full with a waiting list. It sounds like he could have upwards of 500 people in his courses. He's not nervous at all-- but I am maybe a little.
One thing that I really noticed last year was that the teens were all focused on their phones and their friends until a video was played in the lecture. So we decided to make his presentation have lots of short videos. That helps with the fact that he doesn't have alot of speaking experience too. I think the videos we put together are really good. Take a look:
We also went through and collected the best MyHeritage, FamilySearch, and Ancestry videos onto a website so that people could access them easily later. You can see them at Matthew's website.
I think teaching is a really great way to get a teenager involved. I remember how much I thought I knew everything and how eager I was to tell everyone how to do things. It is just an aspect of growing up. And they always say that the teacher learns the most when they are preparing to teach. I think that has been the case here. Matthew has certainly been eager to learn much more than he will actually teach so that he can answer questions and etc. I've been really impressed with the complexities that he has understood and his abililty to retain it all.
Oh, and by the way, I'm speaking too. :) And we are passing out free paper dolls in the vendor's hall. We hope to see you there.