I’m having some mixed feelings about the “unconference” yesterday.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a bad way to spend the day. I got the chance to reconnect in real space with people who I mostly know from their online personality.
And I always enjoy meeting and hearing from lots of voices that are new to me.
However, I came away with something of an empty feeling.
For an “unconference” this felt more like an actual extension of NECC, at least compared to last year and possibly to my unreasonable expectations.
For one thing, the breakout groups were too large which turned what should have been conversations into something more like panel discussions, several featuring many of the same folks who are already presenting here at NECC.
And while most of the discussions were interesting, they also had a deja vu quality to them.
Didn’t we talk about this stuff last year? And the year before? Not to mention in many places online in the interim?
Ok, so maybe I’m being picky. After reading the notes and watching the videos from others, I may just find that I’m way off base and it was much better than these first reflections.
Off to do tourist stuff!
This morning at EduBloggerCon Jim Gates facilitated a very good conversation on internet filtering, although we had way too many people in the room to involve everyone.
It’s obviously a topic that touches a nerve with many teachers and others involved with technology in schools.
However, I still don’t understand the IT folks who insist on locking down computers used by students so that they become artificial environments – no right click, no access to CD/DVD/USB, extremely limited network access.
Reminds me of the dumb terminals we used a while back, an era I thought we had long since progressed passed.
Anyway, Jim’s goal was for the group to come up with ideas for an instructionally sound filtering policy that everyone could use in talking with their administrators and IT staff.
Unfortunately, we really didn’t have time to get much of that done, but hopefully it gave everyone a starting point. This is something that needs to be continued.
If you’re interested, Kristin Hokanson took notes using Cover It Live. Didn’t see anyone taking video but I wouldn’t be surprised if something pops up since there were plenty of those pocket-sized cameras around.
Last year at EduBloggerCon we had about 70 people attend. Steve says there are more than 220 who have listed themselves as attending today.
And we’re working in a MUCH larger room (no electricity?!).
It will be fun watching how this plays out.
I’m heading off tomorrow morning, threading my way through the increasingly disfunctional US air transport system, to San Antonio and NECC.
While I’m looking forward to the conference, it’s the sidebars to the official program that are much more attractive this year.
More than 150 people have indicated they will be attending EduBloggerCon/Classroom 2.0 on Saturday and that should make for a very interesting day of discussions.
On the “regular” conference days I’ll be dropping in on some of the growing collection of “fringe” activities that will be going on in the Blogger’s Cafe.
Then there’s all manner of conversations and impromptu learning opportunities that will occur all over the convention center. I suppose the only way to know about them is to keep your ears – and Twitter – open.
And, of course, there’s San Antonio, which is a beautiful city for a meeting like this, not to mention the great Tex-Mex food.