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Streaming and backchanneling AASL09? Volunteers?

Our conferences are different. 

In many ways I feel that we are not leading and modeling in the edtech world and, if we consider ourselves information and communication specialists, this worries me.

If we don’t, this worries me even more.

Attending NECC and BLC08 this summer reinforced how different those edtech conferences are from our own national and state library conferences. 

We came to those two tech conferences this summer prepared to chat and archive and backchannel–to participate in a big way.  We traveled with our laptops. We expected wireless and we had it.  Audience members volunteered to archive.  Presenters were largely agreeable to being recorded. Sessions at these national conferences were informally UStreamed or podcasted.

Why is all this important?

  • Folks who could not attend chatted regularly with those who could.  These virtual attendees (among them Lisa Durff and Cathy Nelson for BLC) relayed their own comments and questions to speakers via chat.  Their voices were heard real-time, when the speakers were available to respond and if the speakers chose to involve them.
  • Folks who were faced with the problem of wanting to be at two sessions one time, had that problem lifted by the informally archived UStreams and chats and Google Docs and wikis and Nings
  • Folks who needed to chew on a topic beyond the specific hour allotted, were able (and will be able) to revisit that topic long after the session ended, possibly at the time of real need.
  • Presenters could visit sessions they missed that played opposite their own.
  • In collaborative (library-type) style, we organized and extended our experience by agreeing on tags and by tagging our photos and videos. We shared them on Flickr and SlideShare, and on the conference Nings (BLC Ning, NECC08 Ning, Edubloggercon08, EdubloggerconEast08). 
  • Our Twitter networks grew with the contacts we made face-to-face.  Those whom we thought we knew before conference, we knew a lot better after.  And our online connections and collaborations with those folks grew richer.
  • I feel I can go home (to NECC and BLC08) again.  I want to feel that way about ALA and AASL.  Though I loved our Reno conference, it felt so 1.0!

So what should we do when it comes to planning for AASL09 in Charlotte? (I know it’s early, but we need to begin to rethink this event early!)

I am co-chairing the AASL09 2.0 Subcommittee with Robin Williams and I want to see our own networks grow. I want to see us be leaders in the new information and communication landscapes. 

I’ll be visiting Charlotte with the team in mid-August.  Let’s plan together. 

  • Attendees: Who out there is willing to help us Ustream and podcast?  We will need a mini-army of volunteers.
  • Attendees, will you tag and share your photos and videos?  Will you assign liberal Creative Commons licenses to these materials?
  • Attendees, will you blog (or live blog) what you learn and hear?  Will you share with others on your own blog or on the AASL Blog?
  • Presenters, would you be willing to have your presentations recorded? Podcast?
  • Presenters, would you be willing to manage backchannel conversation and alert willing presenters to questions and comments?
  • Presenters, can we break the PPT template and avoid bullets and clipart in favor of storytelling and discussion?
  • Potential presenters (who are currently engaged in using exciting new strategies with learners–you know who you are!) will you prepare a proposal for a concurrent session or an Exploratorium station when the RFP is available?  I will keep you posted on that!  Preconference proposals are due September 15.
  • Should we plan for extra screens for the backchannel for some sessions?
  • Presenters, would you be willing to share your work on SlideShare and your resources in wikis?
  • Exploratorium folks: will you volunteer to archive and tag your tri-folds on Flickr, describe your work, and invite comments? How about videotaping a two-minute introduction?
  • SL experts: Can things happen in virtual worlds as well as in Charlotte?

Of course there are issues.  Among them: intellectual property rights, speakers’ concerns, and exposure.

From my perspective:

  • I used to be far more careful about sharing my slides, fearful someone might steal them and present exactly like me. That hasn’t happened. 
  • I used to be afraid that if everyone was chatting and streaming while I spoke, they wouldn’t be paying attention and that I would be distracted.  I remain focused (as much as I possibly can) and I am actually finding audiences are more engaged and the discussions richer. 
  • I used to be afraid that folks wouldn’t come to my sessions if they could get to them for free.  So far, that hasn’t happened either. 
  • I know some of us are worried that administrators might prevent teachers and teacher librarians from going to conferences if they discover the archive will be available.  I doubt it would happen in my district, but it is something we might need to consider and prepare logical arguments against.
Please share your ideas in the comments! 

How can we work togther to make AASL09 more 2.0?

To learn more about the issues and joins of backchanneling, read the wonderful Lisa Thumann’s Backchannel Backlash.  Don’t miss the fascinating comments and the new expectations these folks so strongly express!

And if you’d like to (re)visit BLC, Lisa graciously gathered this list of archived sessions:

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Nancy Keane says:

    Joyce — This is just the message I brought back to my state association. It was so exciting to be in Newton and see how it all comes together. Now I can’t imagine going to a conference that does not have all that available. Sign me up for your posse!

  2. joycevalenza says:

    I am counting on you, Nancy! Rally the New England folks, okay?

  3. Gina Webster says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I think you’re hit a whole pack of nails squarely on the head. I’ve felt like the library media world has been collecting dust for the past several years. I love what you have to say about our library “brand.” That concept really hits home with me.

    We can be our own worst enemy when it comes to change — often focusing on obstacles more than opportunities. I live in NC and look forward to participating in the AASL conference in Charlotte. I’m planning to apply to present, and I’ll gladly help weave any Web 2.0 connections that I can.

  4. janhasbro says:

    Go Joyce! This is exactly the feeling I had when I returned from AASL in Reno. I was just building some Web 2.0 skills and I missed using them at the conference,as well as hearing what others might have to say about some of the great sessions I attended, including yours. I don’t think this would stop people from attending, I think rather that we would get more participation, both on-site and off. We will hear a bigger voice. Here in CA, some of us were only able to attend AASL because it was in the west this year, but I would like to think that we can all have our voices heard and hear each other wherever the conference is held.

  5. Lisa Thumann says:

    I hope that AASL09 is as open as BLC08 was to UStreaming and podcasting. One thing that you may consider moving forward is a model similar to what Chris Lehman did at Educon2.0 with the students in charge of the UStream.

    What about having the presenters designate a “critical friend” to be in charge of the stream and the backchannel.

    It was hard to get in the habit of sharing everything, but now I understand that the more I share the more I learn from my PLN.

    Joyce – It was so great to spend time with you in Boston. I look forward to seeing you F2F again soon.

  6. Rob Darrow says:

    Yes! Why is it like pulling teeth to pull library conferences to get to this point? Is it money? Is it lack of knowledge? I just don’t get it. Thanks for putting this out there. I hope the AASL people will follow through to do this – what has been happening in other conferences for the past two years!
    Rob @

  7. Nancy White says:

    Joyce – I absolutely agree! Though I wasn’t able to participate much in the backchannel conversation at NECC, I absorbed all that I could and recognize the importance of this. I will volunteer – podcast, Twitter – live blogging – put me to work! And I will do what I can to rally the Colorado attendees!

  8. joycevalenza says:

    What a great reaction! Looks like we have the beginning of a movement, friends.


    I for one am looking forward to AASL being a front-runner in 2.0–I became tired of waiting and migrated to ISTE and NECC to feed my needs. It was surprising to see Joyce Valenza at NECC the whole time this year-generally she is splitting time with ALA folks for the summer conference.

    In the past I have inquired about UStreaming AASL sessions or in the very least providing a back channel for those of use not lucky enough to be there. My requests were shot down, nastily I might add by higher ups in AASL. So it was with no problem I continued to opt for conferences that welcome and embrace these ideas, and to market myself as a 2.0 savvy librarian at other kinds of conferences.

    There are a few slms’s out here embracing web 2.0, me one of them. I may not be the most cutting edge 2.0 user out here, but I am a 2.0 user, and now really detest conferences that have all sit and get sessions with little or no chance for back-channeling with audience members in a forum specifically designed for that.

    Maybe the Charlotte conference will make me see AASL in a different light. Best, I’m in the area of Charlotte, NC, so I’m am looking for a way to plug myself in with this initiative and be a model for other slms’s. Please let me know what I can do to help.

    NOTE: I tried to write this comment on the AASL Blog, but it was rejected because I am not “logged in.” Yet another example of AASL needing to really learn 2.0. How can we really use the tools to interact when we meet roadblocks like that all the time? There doesn’t seem to be a way to “log in” on the AASL Blog, or its not displayed well, since I, and avid user of blogs, could not seem to find it.

  10. Brenda D. Anderson says:

    Joyce – thank you for moving us forward. I will be at AASL 09 so count me in on doing what is needed. I am also going to be at MASL this October and know that you are the keynote. Can we get some of this same Web 2.0 going on at that conference? I’m ready and able.

  11. Linda George says:

    Joyce, you said it. I am so glad so many NHSTE folks were there and that several from my district got the message. I will be emailing your article to all that I know! Thank you so much!

  12. Barb Jansen says:

    Yes! I agree. So far, I have not been to a conference that even has really good wireless in ALL rooms. That would be a good start. The NECC conference had wireless, but it didn’t always work. I went to the Texas Library Association annual assembly at the Hyatt in Austin early this month and there was NO wireless available. I could not show my committee Google Docs or wikis, which we were contemplating using for a project.

    I am onboard with backchanneling at AASL. I enjoyed being able to listen to podcasts of many of the NECC sessions I missed due to working the SIGMS playground and going to all the SIGMS functions. I will be willing to live blog,as Caroline Foote did during the wonderful Library 2.5 session at NECC, or just blog or Twitter, take notes and post to Google Docs–whatever is needed. Now for updating TLA…

  13. Lorine Walker says:

    Joyce, I am taking a wonderful online course through Mansfield University which is located in Pennsylvania. The course is entitled “Information Searching, Retrieval, and Presentation Strategies” taught by Janet Amann. This course is helping veteran and novice school library media specialists learn how to better teach information and communicate in specialists. the edtech world. After thirty-three years of working in the education field, I am now learning how to utilize Wikis, Blogs, Podcasting, and more. I have learned that it is never too late to learn how to be a better information and communication.

  14. Janice Albright says:

    As I am reading this, the PSLA leadership is meeting at State College. I hope that these sorts of activities will take place at our own conference.
    Guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

  15. I loved this post, Joyce. You are not the alone by any means in the library community either. There are many of us asking for more, more, more. In fact, Janet Swan Hill is heading a taskforce to study this for ALA. I don’t know all the details, but I look forward to finding out more soon. I’ll make sure and pass along this discussion to others. It needs to continue.

  16. joycevalenza says:

    Wow, Diane, I didn’t know this was under study. Very cool. It looks like we may have our little “army” of volunteers. I will keep you all posted on our progress after my visit to Charlotte. And Lorine, that Mansfield course was the one I originally wrote! Small world.

  17. Peggy Sullivan says:

    As I read your statement and the comments it prompted, I was reminded of a rather funny (?) thing that happened at the Public Library Association conference in Minneapolis in March, 2008. Paper was virtually forbidden, and, at one of the sessions where the speaker was running a marathon of comments about a myriad of books, and people were scrambling to keep up, she noted that the decision had been made not to make paper lists of the books mentioned available, as had been done in the past. But then, she held up a plastic water bottle, one of several on the speakers’ table and said, “But they have these all over the place! What’s going on?” I know it’s not the same question as the technology issue, but it is related to being au courant….

  18. joycevalenza says:

    Peggy, Perhaps booklist presentations may be a little different, though for our own state conf, I know folks feel a lot better knowing that the pdf versions of the lists will be there for them whenever they need them.

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