Monday, October 29, 2007

Educause highs...

Natural highs:
  1. quality of sessions - managing to not going to anything that I couldn't take something from
  2. organisation of whole thing - as ever and of course
  3. Seattle climate - I liked it cos it was like home (....bizarrely)
Unnatural highs:
  1. coffee - 148 branches of Starbucks, 70+ branches of other coffee chains, 50+ independent coffee houses with free wifi - I think decaff is a state crime
  2. "going up the Hancock" - 94 floors in 45 seconds...whoosh!
  3. viewpoint in the Seattle Public Library - 10 floors up looking down into the attrium was really dizzying

Most used words:
"cloud" - just everywhere - as in "the softwares and applications that are in the cloud eg google apps, social software etc ie not hosted within the institution"
"authentic" - authentic learning, authentic tasks, authentic assessment, authentic resources, authentic diagnostics, authentic get the idea
"sorry, full" - people being turned away from parallel sessions because they were full, scary considering most break out rooms seated 200 people. The effect was that people went to sessions early encouraging more varied in-break conversations and once there very few people moved.

Least used words (as in not mentioned at all in any of the sessions I went to):
plagiarism, facebook, podcasting, Oblinger (....yes, really, that's pretty odd, considering)

1 comment:

Paul Helm said...

My Highs and Lows

Not that much to add to Louise’s comments regarding venue etc, only to say, it was a long, long way to go to attend a conference. I got to the point where I felt like suggesting that, just as the NFL staged a game at Wembley the other week, so Educause should stage a conference in Yurp. Maybe not, as the following week during my vacation, I was constantly asked whereabouts in London I was from etc etc

My overriding sense of the mood of the conference this year was that a few thousand people were looking for an answer to the question “this web 2.0 stuff – is it another thing, or is something really going on here?” Unfortunately, this tended to turn into an ageist sort of thing, whereby the Kidz know all about this stuff and us Oldsterz are being left behind. True, there were isolated outbreaks of sanity, like the Wikipedia session described elsewhere, but it seemed to me that most had lost sight of the fact that we are about education, and education has thousands of years of legacy of assimilating and absorbing new technology. Also, I just don’t buy the “kidz are alright” line, I rather think they need us more than ever.

The other main thing for me was my own personal question, in the light of the mood of uncertainty at SHU at the moment – “why doesn’t LITS feel a bit more like Educause?” Thousands of people all together, with LTI types sitting with AV types, AV types sitting with infrastructure types, etc This is something I am pursuing with the university – when you describe our structure to people they are clearly envious, so why, oh why, doesn’t it feel a better fit back at the ranch?

The only other thing I want to mention is how nice it was to feel in touch with things through ning, though I do want to ask if we are blogging these conferences wrongly as I struggled with the time difference – you lot were finishing for the day as we got up to work – and I didn’t think we had the level of interaction we have enjoyed in the past. But maybe I am just jetlagged out of my mind.

Other personal highs and lows

The exchange rate. Best for 26 years. I had to be dragged out of Powell’s famous bookstore by the University of Chicago as I had bought enough books to fill an extra 10 suitcases.

Yes, the library in Seattle. I did huddle by the Herman Miller corner though.

The Katherine Whitely Effect. She booked my tickets and hotel on the SHU credit card. On arrival in Seattle they couldn’t understand why I wasn’t her. My wife rang the hotel and asked for me, to be told, “we cant find him, oh there he is, sharing with Katherine Whitely, I will put you through.” As I checked out at 6 in the morning on the final day, I was asked “is Katherine still in the room?” And I get back to urgent letters from my credit card people wanting to know who this Katherine Whitely is…

Having a drink with the compiler of the crossword for the Evanston Times, and telling them about our online portmanteau game – she wants in next time around.

And finally, my Evil Friend arranging for the taxi that took me to the airport to be “driven” by the Haitian Huggy Bear. Not only did this guy have an encyclopaedic knowledge of football “HEE HEE Manchester United did good today, I think Owen need a bit of that voodoo magic” he was also obsessed with the English Royal Family. At a very busy intersection he insisted on showing me his version of the “Diana look”, his version of who killed her, and who the father(s) of her children were/are. After 45 minutes of extremely stressful conversation, he finally started to look at the road in front instead of almost climbing into the back of the cab to show me something, then started winding his windows down and screaming at the top of his voice “Packer-Boo, Packer-Boo” – I really thought my time was up, but he was merely expressing his distaste for the Prince of Wales choice of consort.