Day One Done

Well, that takes care of day one! What did you learn? What resonated with you? Please share thoughts in the comments section below.

I thoroughly enjoyed the opening day of the conference! An interesting mix of theory, practice, and visions for the future of education were delivered from “the podium”. I was able to attend all of the invited sessions (with the exception of Erik Duval et al.). Nancy White (me, we and networks), Tony Hirst (messing with data), and Alex Wright (the internet that wasn’t) delivered terrific presentations.

Equally interesting was the conversations that occurred on twitter (captured on TwapperKeeper). Discussions on Ning were somewhat limited (okay, fine, less than limited: two people posted). The AACE session discussions were more active.

A bit of self-critique on the event:

1. I think the two separate discussion areas are confusing (Ning and AACE). When content and discussion are open, the use of tags can help individuals to pull important elements together (for example, subscribing to “edmedia” on Google Alerts would provide updates on new blog posts). When information is behind password wall, aggregation is not possible. People have to log in to each service to see what has changed. Some services – such as Ning – provide email notifications of new comments, but even this only provides limited value. In a perfect world, information that I desire should be accessible in a format that I choose.

2. The setup of the main conference room is not ideal. Physical design generates affordances. The row on row layout does not permit the informal socialization that is valuable at conference venues. People have to shuffle out of the room in order to interact in small groups. Round tables are great for generating conversation. Most conferences take the row on row approach because it saves space. But, I still like to whine about the oppressive impact on interaction of this layout.

3. We need more laptops, more commentary! Conferences are only partially about what is shared from the podium (or front of the room). Peripheral conversations can provide serendipitous connections with research from other fields.

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  Comments: 4

  1. Natalie Senjov-Makohon

    The EdMedia conference this year is showing the importance of connectivity in the network in order to learn. Is the passive learner being forced to move and begin to engage experiential learning. A concept not many learners are willing to take on board?

  2. Aloha! I love the conference site although the construction work sometimes causes a bit of noise. The 15-min breaks are a bit too short for me as a newcomer to get to know people. Most presentations have been very interesting so far, but I was disappointed that two presenters didn’t show up – including the first presenter in my session. So we all had to sit around and wait for 30mins. You would think people would be able to notify the organizers when they can’t come, wouldn’t you? I’m looking forward to more great presentations and meeting more people over the next days.

  3. Not sure whether I’m posting in the right place but here goes. I was very pleased to hear Tara Brabazon focus on sound as a medium – and amazed to see a quote up on the overheads (yes I mean overheads) from a colleague of mine who researched audio cassettes in the eighties. Who says we don’t remember our history – well actually we often don’t, hence a pleasure to see this ‘old’ research reused. I was as a result not in agreement with our opening statement from Day2 keynote speaker about sound bypassing our critical faculties and hence not to be recommended since Stephen (Downes) was advocating active and reflective personal change as the model for learning. Totally agree with that but feel that all media carry risks and require certain kinds of attention and activity, to engage critical reflection. I suppose it also comes from living in a country where radio listeners have increased recently and where the content on both radio 3 and radio 4 BBC is highly encouraging of the critical and reflective use of our faculties.
    Have also learned really useful stuff from a couple of the posters as well as the other keynotes, so a very good two days from my point of view.

  4. Steve Swithenby

    I hope an outsider view is useful. I have attended many conferences but this is my first time at EdMedia. Honolulu and the fact that I was already at a conference in San Francisco may, just possibly, have influenced my decision to attend but I did want to see how this community functioned and what it was thinking.

    It has been good. The keynotes have been informative and provocative. The contributed sessions have contained unexpected jewels. And the conference is manageable in size.

    So far, so anodyne. Now for the criticisms.

    • Can I make a plea for data? So much of what I have heard has been almost data free. Assertion is piled on assertion: personal experience is extrapolated into general practice. I don’t think this it is good enough. At EdMedia, we are discussing contested issues and these should be researched rigorously. We need hypotheses, data, and analysis rather than bombast. The absence of data contrasts starkly with the conference I attended in San Francisco and it threaten the reputation of the field.

    • My second beef is with the erection of false dichotomies. Connectivism versus instructional design. I must either join a self organising networked community that is remixing and reusing or enlist in the managed corps of instructed students. Well, actually, I want to do both and everything in between. I can’t see that either is the pattern for future learning – both are part of the ways in which learning will occur.

    • And my final worry is that the Conference is relatively untouched by the huge issue of how educational technology can mitigate the huge problems of educational access in the less developed world where simple mobile phones are the only available interactive channel. In India, there are 300 million mobile phones users. In contrast there are only 5 million people with personal broadband access. What is this Conference offering to the 300 million?

    Applause can be expressed quickly – criticism takes longer. So, let me repeat that I am enjoying the Conference and hope to make my contribution to remedying what I see as shortcomings.

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