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.
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.
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:
- Pre-Conference: Alan November Published Google Doc with links to everything thanks to Dave Truss
- Keynote: Ewan McIntosh http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/562434
- Keynote: John Davitt http://bobsprankle.com/bitbybit_wordpress/?p=440
- Everything Old is New Again with Darren Kuropatwa and Clarence Fischer http://dkuropatwablc08.pbwiki.com/Everything+New+is+Old+Again
- A Day in the Life of a Technology Teacher Presentation by Darren Kuropatwa http://dkuropatwablc08.pbwiki.com/A+Day+in+the+Life
- Joyce Valenza’s “Web 2.0 Meets Information Fluency: Designing Projects for 21st Century Learners” http://bobsprankle.com/bitbybit_wordpress/?p=445 Resource: http://newtoolsworkshop.wikispaces.com/
- Dave Truss This, My Blog Has Taught Me http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/this-my-blog/
- Clarence Fischer at BLC http://ping.fm/NhJb4
- Reflection from the end of the conference: http://dkuropatwablc08.pbwiki.com/Ustream+reflection+from+end+of+conference