Plain and simple, despite some down moments, this was the best NECC I’ve attended. It was, for the most part, a fun, creative, good space to be in, and I learned a great deal even though I realized yesterday that I hadn’t attended a formal session. (That is actually kind of bizarre, isn’t it? And now of course I realize I missed a great deal.) But it just felt like I was getting so much from the conversations in the Blogger Cafe/Camp and at the other meet-ups throughout the five days that the sessions felt kind of unappetizing. And when I was prepping for my spotlight yesterday, I kept struggling with the same thing…the feeling that that model of someone standing on a stage talking for an hour paled as compared to just having a conversation. The whole experience has challenged my thinking a great deal.
And one other thing that kind of blossomed out of this whole thing was the Twitterish, synchronous conversation that started popping out everywhere. Jeff posted the Skypechat transcript that a bunch of people were having during my presentation. Many of them were in the room, but Clarence Fisher was supervising a science exam in Manitoba and Dean Shareski was out in Moose Jaw. And as Jeff Twittered out the fact that the chat was taking place, more people joined in along the way. It reminded me of ILaw at Harvard a couple of years ago where they actually projected the back channel IRC chat onto the screen as the presenter was presenting. (Now THAT was chaos.) For me, the benefit of tracking the reaction and thinking as I read through it a day later is really fascinating. The learning continues.
So I’m leaving NECC with a lot more optimism, not necessarily that things are going to move any faster or that the challenges are any smaller. But with a real sense of glue. We may not have succeeded at EdBloggerCon at crafting the elevator pitch or figuring out what the new story is, but there is now a sense, at least to me, of more of a collective mission. One that we can already start thinking about for next year in San Antonio. What are our goals? What do we want to have accomplished by then? What are the benchmarks? I took the liberty of adding a new page to the EBC site.
There is an election next year, you know…
Many thanks to everyone who contributed to my learning this year. Hope I added something useful to the conversation.
Technorati Tags: necc07, necc2007, education, learning, blogging
Clarence Fisher says
I think you’ve hit something on the head. Even without being there, I think the edushpere became a community this week. My skype and twitter accounts both bloomed with new contacts and I ended up in several sessions live through both skype audio and chat. I could sit here in my classroom and be there in Atlanta with people that I know.
But I urge you not to get to forget about the rest of the world. While I completely understand that U.S. teachers are “itching” for change that (as far as a Canadian can understand it) is badly needed. But I’ve also learned more about the edusphere being international and the need for change being international as well. On the level of the political field, the voice of the educator is badly needed, but not only in the U.S. I would simply wish to remind people that all of our energy cannot be focused at these levels. We need good classroom teachers showing what classrooms can become as models to point to as the possibilities.
I am planning on coming to San Antonio next year, but hope not to only hear political discussions.
chris larry says
Will when will you be allowing discussions on your Spotlight session wiki? I thought that would be a good spot to talk about some takeaways I had from NECC b/c maybe it would include those in the session? If not I will raise them somewehere….
Kevin Prentiss says
Seems you just followed the path of your engagement. Students do it all the time – and skip class for the same reason.
Your engagement “flow”ed down the pathways of relationships that have been found? fostered? online.
Was NECC necessary for your cafe? (Could you just poll a best time best place on your own . . .) How long will it continue to be?
Jeff Utecht says
After we finished the Chat…we all looked at each other with a since that something just changed.
We quickly discussed how this type of chat benefits a presenter. The presenter can go back through a chat and see the questions the audience had, the one liners that hit home, and the thoughts they provoke. I can see how this “back channel” would be valuable as a presenter…and I already know how powerful it is as a member.
I think you’re right though…this has potential to change presentations for the future.
Thanks for the conversation and continuing to push my thinking!
Will — You mean I can make it to NECC 08 simply by taking a few hour trip down 35 and taking a right at Austin? Brilliant.
Echo a few thoughts above:
1. Clarence: Thank you for reminding all of us that this is hardly a US-centric conversation. And if the end-game merely becomes political, we all lose. I appreciate the many who have recently talked about a unified voice and even a unified tagging system, but this ‘community’ is made up of many small parts, loosely joined…and it hardly is bounded by one national map line. Stephen Downes often reminds that many of us US-based bloggers forget the rest of the world, save when we find a good story to echo or are fortunate enough to get a chance to catch a plane. The ‘future of learning’ issue is not a national one. It is a human one. And the 2.0 connections remind us of that daily.
2. Kevin — GREAT point about not needing a formal encounter such as NECC to bring people together to foster similar conversations. I still believe one of the best ‘events’ I went to in the last 3 years was the off-the-grid camp-out that Robert Scoble offered at his family place in Montana. Anyone that showed up, showed up. And the diversity of ideas and expertise was fascinating, as were the conversations and connections. All it takes is one place that can hold 20+ people…and an first-come-first-serve invitation that brings people together for 2-3 days. The rest takes care of itself. Now, if several of these took place on one weekend in multiple locations across the globe, and they participants synched their efforts (wiki, twitter, blog, videocasts, etc.)…well, we might have something that rivals the best formal conference you’ve ever been to.
3. Jeff (and Will) — Yes to the rise of “back channels” of conference session content!