Saturday, July 5, 2008
People are beginning to reflect on their NECC experiences. For me, there were three distinct but interconnected components.
Workshops and presentations were the marquee attraction. Internationally-known speakers, emerging Voices, and classroom innovators were all well represented. They shared information, explored core concepts, and provided valuable resources. As the member of a Librarians' panel myself, I was able to experience the positive energy such opportunities generated.
Another aspect of the conference is the Exhibition Hall, where vendors demonstrate products, answer questions, and conduct mini-workshops.
I found the official NECC program to be overwhelming, containing such an embarrassment of riches that I ended up only attending a few sessions. There was too much to take in, a sensory and cognitive overload. I'm hoping that many of the presentations have been captured on Ustream, so that I can explore at my leisure, a la K-12 Online.
The Exhibition Hall was similar in its excesses, but it seemed to focus primarily on things rather than thoughts. I dutifully sat through a few mini-workshops, but I was too keyed up to settle for long and ended up leaving many of the giveaways I received there in my hotel room. One quick sweep was enough to convince me that this was not a profitable space for me to spend much time exploring.
My favorite area was, as many of you might guess, the Bloggers' Cafe. Although a number of "getting to know you" chats took place, there was a rich and deep vein running through most of the conversations. People like Dean Shareski, Al Upton, Stephanie Sandifer, Dean Groom, Derrall Garrison, Vinnie Vrotny, and Jo McLeay stopped to say hello and stayed to explore such topics as internet/personal safety, student blogging, the power of f2f connecting, building student "excitement for learning" and teacher burnout.
Australian Dean Groom professed to be puzzled by the recurring "dream" motif in America. He prefers to focus on five achievable goals; when they're accomplished, he moves on to the next set.
Vinnie Vrotny told the story of his daughter's desire for a "fine dining" experience which led to a life lesson in gathering information.
Dean Shareski reminded me that our twitterverse comprises only a tiny percentage of the educational technology world, a fact that I need to keep in mind when interacting with other teachers and information technologists.
Stephanie Sandifer and I shared our distaste for the aggressive, intrusive tactics of some of the vendors.
Most fun for me, as a librarian and reader, was discussing literary genres - and favorite books - with Derrall Garrison.
Carolyn Foote demonstrated the features of her iPhone and Doug Johnson let us examine his Kindle. I reconnected with Joyce Valenza and met my dear friend Cathy Nelson for the first time in "real life."
I know that each of us took something home with us from NECC.
Which part of the troika appealed most to you? More importantly, how have you grown, how will your practices change, as a result of this extraordinary gathering?
"Troika" from Wikipedia