Surprise #1 is that about 60 people cram into our small room for the Blogs, Wikis… panel yesterday, and rumor had it that there were about 20 people waiting outside the door for any early exits. (Even bigger rumor is that former US Education Secretary Rod Paige was turned away…oh, the humanity!)
Surprise #2 is that not only does 96% of the room know about blogs, 90% of them READ blogs. And the vast majority of them say they use Wikipedia. Wow. A big, friendly crowd!
Non surprise #1 is that as we go down the line and each answer a question from our moderator, the passion of the participants is palpable. We love this stuff.
Surprise #3 is that what seems to really drive the whole point home about how we connect using these technologies is when Liz divulges that she and George and David and I are participating in a running IRC back channel chat during the panel. Audible gasps. (I gasped this morning when I realized that David was live blogging the panel as he was back channel chatting and participating…whoa!) Unbeknownst to the audience, David scolds Liz for telling.
Surprise #4 is that I actually get asked a question about how my own school is moving with these technologies. Somewhat equally surprising is that the majority of questions thrown at us are really well crafted and relevant.
Non surprise #2 is that the MySpace monster gets raised, and we spend a fair amount of time trying to move the discussion away from the fear to the potential.
Surprise #5 is that we get to the end and only a few people have gotten up and left.
All in all, I think it was a great discussion. And I was really struck by how totally engaged the audience seemed to be, which I found somewhat ironic considering the vibe I’ve been getting at this conference for the past two days. Not really sure what the takeaway will be for the participants, but for me at least, the best part was once again getting to meet some of my teachers and just getting a chance to spend some time turning over these ideas and experiences in real time.