Thursday, November 10, 2011
Turning the Page
It has been about ten days since I returned home from AASL 2011, in Minneapolis, MN. I get so involved and distracted at large conferences that I never blog on site, and only tweet during some of the presentations. My intent was to write at least one, perhaps two, postings on my experience there.
Life has intervened.
So I'll just highlight a few items, share what I did (and photographed, of course!), and recommend that those interested in more information pay a visit to the AASL11 Ning, which is still being updated and contains a wealth of content.
This was my debut as a presenter in the Exploratorium, and I loved it. It reminded me of a school science fair, where people circulate and ask questions about projects. The space was nicely set up, with room to move around among the tables, which were arranged by topic. My partners - Shannon M. Miller and John Schumacher - and I talked about our collaborations: all of us in Club Click, and Shannon and John through the Two Libraries, One Voice series of activities. The information exchange worked both ways, and I feel that I learned as much from our visitors as they, hopefully, learned from us.
There was an amazing, almost over-whelming, selection of general and concurrent sessions from which to choose. Full registration at AALS 2011 included the Virtual Conference, which offered both livestreaming of events and access to archived slidecasts, recordings, and speaker handouts. Conference videos and discussion forums can also be found at the aforementioned Ning (which is still encouraging presenters to share materials and engage in conversation on the site).
The Learning Commons
AASL 2011 National Conference Conference Committee Social Media Chair, Buffy Hamilton, did an outstanding job of organizing and publicizing all the many ways to share in this event, whether attending physically or virtually. By far, my favorite choice was the Learning Commons, a space for teaching, learning, connecting. There were short presentations, informal discussions, and casual conversations. The LC was, and should be, about networking and sharing knowledge. It succeeded on both fronts.
The city was a delight, with enclosed walkways, easy transport, good restaurants, plentiful shopping opportunities and, above all, friendly people. The closing celebration for the conference featured Minnesota delicacies, like pan-fried Walleye and a wild rice paella. Even the weather cooperated, sparing us the snow that my home state experienced while I was away. Given the chance, I will definitely visit Minneapolis again in the future.
AASL 2011 was a valuable experience for those lucky enough to attend. Although the next national conference won't be held until 2013, in Hartford Connecticut, there will be a Fall Forum from October 12-13, 2012, in Greenville, SC. The theme will be Transliteracy and the School Library, with speakers to be announced soon. If you'd like to learn more about this increasingly important topic, please consider joining your fellow school librarians in beautiful South Carolina.
SlideShare from the Learning Commons, A Way of Knowing
A Livestream recording of my commentary on the slides
Wiki created for our discussion of library design
All photos are from my AASL11 - Minneapolis, MN set