There certainly were a week’s worth of highlights packed into my quick two-day visit to Edinburgh for e-Live 2006, among them meeting Ewan McIntosh, David Muir and John Johnson (three more checks on my edblogger life list), the very enjoyable meetup at the Jolly Judge just off the Royal Mile and later a fun dinner in Leith near Ewan’s home, listening to Alan November’s keynote and the opportunity to meet and chat with dozens of educators at every level of the Scottish system.
But the best highlight, not suprisingly, were the kids. This conference was especially enjoyable because there were kids everywhere, in the audience, in the vendor booths, welcoming participants into the sessions, and even a couple of troops of wandering podcasters that were reporting on the event. It was really just a joy to watch them, producing everything from complex GarageBand performances (they even had one student band doing live performances into the computer) to creating claymation movies to demo-ing a whole host of interesting other applications that were set up throughout the venue. (Note to self: don’t just pack the camera next time…actually bring it to the event. Doh!) Talk about engagement! These kids were totally, wholly involved with the technology, having all sorts of fun, figuring it out, pushing it. It was pretty amazing.
The best part was when I got the honor of being interviewed by the podcasting teams. They were bright, happy kids who seemed a bit impressed by the Americans and had a slew of good questions prepared. They asked about the Internet, about whether they should be allowed to have cell phones, about where technology was headed. But the best moment was when they asked me what my favorite technology was. Of course, I told them it was my tablet. They looked at me a bit quizically for a moment, but when I spun my screen around and laid it down on the keyboard, they almost jumped out of their seats. “Whoa!” “Look! You can write on it!” “That’s incredible!” (By the way, at that moment I fell in love with the Scottish accent…) And even better, at just that moment, Ewan, who was giving a presentation in the room right next to us, Skyped me! When they heard the “phone” ringing, the kids were looking around, and when I tapped on the screen and started talking, they were really impressed. Just to show them what you could do with Skype, when Ewan hung up I called Sheryl in Virginia Beach unannounced and she picked right up and starting chatting about life in the States. (It blew them away when they heard how warm it was, until they realized she was talking Farenheit.) Anyway, it was 15 minutes of spontaneous tech magic and was easily the best moment for me.
Until, of course, at the end of the interview, when I asked them what their favorite technology was. “The Tablet!”
Oh, and by the way, if there is any doubt about what a bunch of geeks we all are, the highlight of the dinner conversation at the blogger get together was wondering what the Flickr tag was going to be for Ewan’s upcoming wedding. Scary. Really Scary. My sincere thanks to Ewan and the rest for organizing a great evening.