Wednesday, July 9, 2008

NECC 2008 in Review

As I reflect back on the National Education Computing Conference there is truly a lot to reflect on. One of the things I thought about was the words I heard - Pedagogy, scaffolding, tools, social networking, blog, wiki, ning, NECC, release form, learning networks, ubiquitousness, just to name a few. Of course if you went down into the vendor area that covered two Texas counties you heard even more words and language that was all geared toward "this will do _____" (fill in the blank) as long as you purchased it during the show.

I started early this year but not as early as those who have been working on this for a long time like a year or more, but I started by volunteering. We set up work stations on Thursday at the back of the Convention Center so that we could stuff bags with all the materials that vendors paid to have in there by way of sponsorship. I actually came back the next day and had a crew of 6 or 7 people and we stuffed bags for over 3 hours.

On Saturday I came and attended my first Edubloggercon. It was an interesting experience that I was amazed at, especially since this was my first one. Most of the discussion on the side centered around the presence of Pearson and their camera crew and the structure of the "unconference" which apparently left much to be desired. I can only imagine that NECC 29 years ago probably began to feel and hear some of the same things and it has grown from there. Steve Hargadon, I thank you for your time and energy. I found the day very valuable and while maybe I was a little star struck seeing so many people that I watch and read online, it was a good experience and I enjoyed the chance to be there and participate.

On Sunday I was lucky enough to get in on The Constructivist Celebration sponsored by Gary Stager and his Constructivist Consortium. A wonderful day of creating and meeting and watching and enjoying. Many people there to help and as a result I look forward to the chance to go to Manchester New Hampshire in late July to spend four days in the Gary Stager think tank. By the way there are a few seats still available. Come join us.

After the Constructivist Celebration I hustled over to the hotel where along with four other wonderful Texans, Scott Floyd, Mike Gras, Brian Grenier and John Maklary who had been hard at it were prepping for the Ribfest. What a great time that was as we sat and ate and drank and listened and talked with a lot of folks from the north and also learned and drank from the fountain of wisdom within the group. There was also lots of good food.

The conference started on Monday and moved at light speed - sessions, vendors, workshops, live blogging, ustreaming, conversations in the halls and with folks from all over the world at the same time as they participated in the back channel chats from whatever session was broadcasting. It was amazing to watch and participate in for sure. The tools became the venue only from the standpoint that the cameras and live blogs opened up a truly wonderful conference to more than just the 17,000 plus people located in Texas.

ISTE and NECC did an excellent job. Sure there will always be some glitches and grousing along the way but I think a truly wonderful time was had by all. My thanks to all the volunteers. I know the ones I worked with were so wonderfully Texan with hearts just as big as the state.

To those I met, thank you for taking the time to teach me, mentor me, to drag me on occasion kicking and screaming and mainly for allowing me to be a part of the world of Educational Technology. However, if I heard one thing over and over again, everyone and I do mean everyone of the attendees that I came into contact knows that t is all about the students. Let's make sure we keep it that way. They are our future and one day they will be making decisions for us. Let's lead them properly into their future and not backwards into our past.

I look forward to Washington D.C.

4 comments:

Joel Adkins said...

Paul,

It has been great getting to know you by proxy. I didn't meet you in person but I am good friends with coachnorm and you were sitting next to him in a session while I was chatting online with him.

He added you to his Twitter and I added you to mine and it has been great getting to know you - even without meeting in person.

Keep up these posts, streams, and Liveblogs my friend. You are doing a great job adapting like the rest of us are. And just as soon as you get used to it, it changes all the same.

Good to have you aboard!

Dean Shareski said...

What a treat it was spending time with you. I'll certainly remember "y'all" fondly and hope we can reunite at some point.

Paul R. Wood said...

@Joel Adkins - thnak you for your kind words. Coach Norm is something else. We had a great time in the sessions we were in sitting side by side. I look forward to reading more from you and hope to meet you in the not too distant future.

@Dean Shareski - Of all the people I met (and I am not tyring to make anyone mad or jealous) you are amazing. I have toured your house, listened to your daughter sing, watched you hit golf balls on the frozen tundra, etc. etc. You continue to "Share" I guess because you have to - it's in your name. Thank you sir it was a blast meeting you.

Manaiakalani said...

We flew to Texas from Auckland , New Zealand to be at NECC and it was a wonderful experience. The hospitality was amazing - I will treasure my bag even more now I know what effort went into 'stuffing' it :) It is the privilege of the rich (ie in access, multiple conferences etc etc) to get nit-picky about aspects of the experience. We got so much from it and are still reflecting and blogging about things we learned there. Just wished we had been on the invite list to the rib-fest. We watched on twitter....