Next week is the ACEC2010 conference “Digital Diversity”. This is a three day event with a fourth day offered to those who wish to attend the pre-conference special sessions including the opportunity to make visitations to Victorian chools that feature innovative work.
As an Australian educator I am proud to both attend and present at this conference, especially as Australians and particularly Victorians are involved in a great deal of innovative work using emerging technologies in education.
Before, I talk about my thoughts on this year’s conference, I want to reflect back on the ACEC 2008 conference in Canberra, where the following are my most vivid memories:-
- Waiting at the airport in Melbourne, an unknown female approached me and asked if I was @murcha (my twitter and blog id). Delighted to say ‘yes’, I met face to face @lucybarrow. (I did not recognize her as she uses an avatar as her id on twitter!) As this was my first Australian conference, it was great to know someone and our companionship over the next few days extended into an ongoing educational connection over the past two years. Eighteen months ago, my twitter network was largely confined to global connections. However, it was great to spend time with Helen Otway , John Pearce Wendy Macpherson, Lauren O’Grady (@lilylauren) and others.
- Only a small minority used laptops were used by attendees and paper and pens abounded. This was especially obvious when the keynote sessions were on. Although power boards etc were supplied in the lecture theatres, there may have been 20 laptops used overall by participants. As the majority of these users were part of the twittershpere, regular tweets were sent out on the content of the presentations. Once home, it was with some dismay that I read an email on one of my regular emailing lists, which spoke about the disdain with which this was done. Complaints about using laptops, the distraction of monitor glare, people using twitter, checking emails etc A vocal thread of conversations continued re ‘the lack or professional disrespect’ at conferences. I was amazed as I had just returned from an amazing paperless and extremely digital Learn 2.0 Shanghai conference, where everyone had laptops, digital screens broadcast sessions, unconference sessions abounded, all participants were encouraged to join twitter and actively use twitter during the conference etc etc. Yes, it is agreed that at times digital consumers/tweeters can show disrespect to presenters. However this was not certainly my intention at Canberra. Rather it was a backchannel used to share my experiences with those who could not attend the conference.
- Watching early, pioneering digital users like Steve Collis use ustream to stream his sessions and listen to some of his great experiences with and uses of technology.
- Watching the Victorian contingent of organisers for this year’s Melbourne conference busily promote the conference at their stand . And now it is here!!!
Now, to ACEC2010 and here are some of the things that I am looking forward to:-
- A great lineup of keynote presenters
- A wonderful selection of sessional speakers.
- What does …….from their soapbox entail? (These are the titles of some of the sessions. The name of the presenter is in the dotted session) I have enrolled for some of these.
- Networking – one of the biggest pluses of conferences. Meeting my online colleagues face to face is always a highlight. Close connections can be made online, but that face to face meeting cements the friendship and bonds already made, and forges us into further and richer association. My online Australian network has certainly increased since the 2008 conference. I also look forward to making new connections and will gather as many business cards as I possibly can. (I will also take my computer made business cards as well).
- Using my laptop with pride and tweeting any gems that arise from presentations. In fact, this year we are encouraged to be networked and for those who do not have laptops, wirelessly connected iPod touches will be made available! Such a contrast to two years ago! Oh, I must remember to tag my laptop lead!
- Sharing some of the exciting learning that I have been involved in with my two sessions: – 208 “Connecting your classroom to the globe!” and session 211: “A 21st century classroom”.
More specifically, I am hoping to learn more about:-
- Mobile technology
- Virtual classrooms and blended learning
- Virtual worlds
- Finding speakers for the online Tech Talk Tuesdays and eT@lking!
Looking forward to a great conference and proud to be an Australian educator! Thanks to the committee for all their hard work, ……. and just wondering how many people will bring their laptops to sessions or use the iPod touches at this conference. Has there been digital diversity? Are you coming to ACEC2010? If so, hope to catch up with you.