What a fun day of stimulating conversation and exchange of ideas!
Last night we enjoyed an evening of entertainment and levity on the Boston Harbour Dinner Cruise. I spent most of the dinner with new colleagues from LEARN finding out a bit more about my new job environment. Later I enjoyed some conversations with new friends who I had originally met at NECC.
I made it through most of the keynote session this morning by Dr. Yong Zhao who showed off a number of Internet trends such as youtube and Second Life. The compelling part of the session, for me and a few others, was the skype chatcast that quite a few of us were adding to. This phenomenon of backchanneling during sessions was even part of the topics we discussed. Yes, we poked a little fun at each other along the way (while David Jakes once again kept us on task), but we also enjoyed some powerful discourses about the speaker’s topic, the conference and the role of web 2.0 tools at such a conference.
I attended two sessions later in the morning – Darren Kuropatwa (New Tools, New Pedagogies – Developing Expert Voices), and Christian Long-Chris Lehmann (Designing High School 2.0). Again, we brought in a number of people into a skype chatcast (who were both in the session and off-site) and had amazing discourses about not just these sessions, but some others that were going on. Many said later about what an invigorating experience it was to have so many voices chiming in with their ideas, responses, experiences, and even dissents. I have to say it was one of the most intellectually stimulating experiences I have had for some time. Definitely a high point was when George Siemens came into the chat and we had a lively discussion about sustainable change in an educational environment and the affordances of a laptop as a tool.
Later, at lunch, I had the great privilege of having Bob Sprankle – Podcast Guru – show me how to use Garage Band on my new MacBook Pro. Wheeee! Imagine having private tutorials with Dave Warlick for pro-blogging tips and Bob Sprankle for podcasting tips all in one summer! Somebody pinch me!
Much more so than NECC 2007, I found most of the sessions promoted or used web 2.0 tools for educational purposes. One would certainly get the impression that a LOT of educators are using these tools in the classroom. However, in many of the audiences of the sessions I attended it was clear that many, many teachers (who were attending this tech-oriented conference) were NOT familiar with these tools and were clearly not using them. We have certainly not reached any kind of saturation point with comprehension of such things as rss feeds, podcasts, and skype. We have a long way to go, baby.