NECC “Final” Reflections

I’m sure I’ll continue to reflect on this conference, but I wanted to capture a few regrets right off the bat:

I got to have a conversation with Steve Dembo when I ran into him (with Jannita Demian) at the student showcase, but wish I would’ve had another chance to chat with him. In fact, I missed the Discovery booth altogether and wish I would’ve connected with the Discovery Educators a bit more in general. I only said hi to Hall Davidson in passing, too. Luckily I’ll see Steve and Jannita soon at the OCDE Blogging Institute, and as I understand it they are organizing some Discovery events for after. (By the way, click on the link to learn about the institute and to sign up… there’s still seats available! Guest speakers will include Steve [face to face], Will Richardson [via skype], and practicing teachers from Orange County who are using read/write web technologies in their classes!) I hope to develop a stronger connection to the Discovery community of enthusiastic educators.

I also regret not spending more time at the Apple booth! I got to see Robert Craven and Ted Lai a few times, but missed Jason Ediger the one time I went looking for him. I saw Kathy Shirley upstairs at the $100 laptop booth, but was being too introverted at the time to really connect with her. Thanks for coming over to say hi though, Kathy! I didn’t get to connect with any of the other SEs or ADEs whose company I’ve enjoyed over the years, and I didn’t meet anyone new at Apple. That’s something of a travesty at an event like NECC.

I had also told Jason I’d be podcasting in this feed, but the tools I had available lent themselves to blogging (and photoblogging and moblogging)… and, really, as comfortable as I am with performance (and despite my background in it), I think I communicate even more naturally as a writer (and I certainly have even more experience in writing). Ultimately, though, I’m sorry I didn’t branch out and do a podcast for the event, especially after going to all the trouble last weekend to make this feed iTunes compliant. Thanks, Jason, in any case, for helping me out with that and spurring me on to it. (Oh! I just discovered all the NECC content in iTunes! This conference isn’t over yet!)

I am sorry I missed the CUE Social. I think I should always rank social gatherings (and networking opportunities) ahead of session content at conferences. It is always the conversations I get the most out of, not the presentations.

Also, my own presentation was almost entirely one-way. I need to find a way to incorporate two-way teaching even into my conference presentations… at least then I’ll be able to legitimately complain about “sit and git” sessions. (Naturally, I also wish I had gone early to my preso, so I wouldn’t have been late.)

And of course, I need to find a better way to balance blogging and attending the conference. This is the most coverage I’d gotten up (I felt somewhat obliged since I was on the list of NECC bloggers), but it also kept me occupied for large chunks of time at the conference. At least using my new Treo was a blast… and actually limited the length of some of my posts. I imagine we’re all working on this one.

Finally, I went with the goal of trying to sus out the next big thing. Where do we go from here? What do I need to prepare for? (I really see my job as having to stay ahead of the teachers in order to help them make the frequent transitions demanded by today’s world – and those that will now benefit their students.) I know we have our work cut out for us spreading the word about the read/write web and helping teachers and students put it to good use, and I know we’re only at the very beginning of seeing video games and simulations in the classroom, but I am presuming there is something coming that I’m missing right now – and I didn’t find it at NECC. I know Robert Craven and I felt we didn’t see anything new at NECC, and even Stacy Deeble-Reynolds felt the same way after only a year and a half working in a department with Robert and I. (I’m presuming our other teammate, Mike Guerena, who unfortunately I never even ran into, felt the same way… he may have been at least as interested in the World Cup as the conference.) It seems Jeff Utecht also didn’t find what he was looking for, though I think I need to respond to his criticism of the constructivist sessions. :)

I also wish I had spent more time in the vendor exhibit hall. Perhaps then I would have found more new things, however commercial and incremental. What I did, see, though, fit well within my paradigm and understanding of educational technology. I suppose that’s good and ok for a professional educational technologist, though, eh? (Also, I really wish I had made time to see the US Department of Ed’s School 2.0 presentation. I wonder if that’s online anywhere… a quick search didn’t turn it up.)

In any case, the conference really was a great learning experience for me (especially professionally), and was inspirational in many ways. I am particularly inspired to become more involved in ISTE and to play a bigger role as a content producer next year. I will submit several more sessions – and they’ll be interactive. And, I’ll work out a system for blogging and podcasting efficiently before I go. Hey… I already can’t wait.

For now, thank you for reading. I hope you’ve enjoyed my coverage of the conference.

Now I have some more writing to do for my new business, and I have a ton of reading to do for my studies at Walden. I hope to continue blogging regularly now that I’m done at the OCDE on a daily basis, but you can expect me to slow back down a little bit. :)

In the meantime, I’m off to the gym. I’m craving exercise after a week on the road!

2 Responses to “NECC “Final” Reflections”

  1. Jeff Utecht Says:

    Mark,

    It was great to meet you in S.D. and I look forward to more of your research on gaming. Don’t get me wrong the constructivist sessions weren’t bad, I was just expecting more. It’s just hard for me to sit through a session on constructivism, a theory that’s been around for many years and one in which we are now all taught as pre-service teachers. My thing is we need to build on it; we can’t rely on a learning theory that does not incorporate the new social networks that these tools allow us to use. I’m all for constructivism, just an upgraded approach that takes into account the new read/write tools of the web.

    Hopefully we can meet up again in the future!

    Jeff

  2. Mark Wagner Says:

    Jeff,

    Thanks for the comment. We’ve both been busy with other things this month, but I want to return to this idea of connectivism. My initial thought was that it is not an approach that is mutually exclusive to (or in conflict with) constructivism at all – especially not what I call social constructivism. Your comment seems to suggest that as well; you hint that connectivism is an “upgraded approach.” I think this is something I need to look into for my own work (and research) and I would welcome any other resources you might be able to point me towards. :)

    -Mark