My location for the Sydney sessions may be hard to beat- we were in a new conference room in Harbourside Mall, overlooking a stunning sunny day on Darling Harbour. But more than 100 people stuck with my sessions from 12:30 to 2:45 PM doing as rapids as I could do versions of “Being There” and “Whats on Your Horizon?”.
And with his subtle gentle nudging from Alexander Hayes, I expanded the running “demo” I had requested (a separate screen to have a version of TwitterCamp going during the sessions). No Alex took control of that screen and masterfully coordinated 3 external environments that highlight the notion of “Being There”. Plus one more slick application:
- We had a plain view of my twitter account, with again, my followers responding to a shoutout to say hello
- We also ran a live stream via ustream.tv from the camera on my MacBookPro – it was the first time I ever did a broadcast, it is drop dead easy to do. I sent out an invite via twitter; I could not see the chat as I was presenting, but it seemed to be rolling nicely. It was an imperfect angle to tilt my laptop to try and get part of the presentation screen, and now that I see the recorded archives, I should have taken the offer for a small front speakers lamp. I was pretty much the talking, coughing shadow man. Did you get my reference to archive? It was just a button click to have the video recorded, which can be linked to, or embedded, or even downloaded. I cannot believe this works so smooth and it is free. I have used the embed codes to put the archive (plus the Slideshared version of the presentation) on my wikipsaces site- see the pages and reference URLs for Being There and Whats on Your Horizon? — or see below for the embed version in WordPress.com.
- Alex was also keen on sending the audio into Second Life (via the voice chat- I believe he had a line out from the mixing board going into his PC). We had a handful of folks show up on Boracy- I was not watching that at all.
That is three different spaces this presentation ventured… but Alex had more up is sleeve. They had a system set up that contained all the mobile phone numbers for everyone registered for the event. I had 3 points where I posed questions to the audience, that Alex was able to send by SMS to all 100+ attendees. So all of a sudden, there was a mni cacophony of phones playing their incoming message tone. They would reply by SMS, and the responses were displayed in screen as they came in.
And then Alex is posting them to the NSW Learnscope blog (see first example).
Now I have always speculated (well perhaps to myself) that all of the interest in US Educators in “Classroom clickers” would be eclipsed by technology that used student phones. Well, the future is unevenly distributed right here. I saw it. And SMS responses are better, as clickers are simple multiple choice; these can be open ended queries.
I felt a tad better health wise today, but the voice was still raspy and pretty much gave out at the end. The audience was rather engaged, and I tried to rile up a little bit of resentment with my slap against the arbitrary web site blockages that are done at a state wide level. Apparently, there is an unknown group known as “THEY” (or sometimes “the IT guys”) who will, without announcement, start blocking a web site. There is not warning, and no consulting with the constituency, it is done as a maternalistic nanny model. Where is the student anger?
There are teachers who design learning activities with web tools like the podcasting site Podomatic and they enter a class only to find they can no longer access a site. This is (IMHO) an insane, debilitating, regressive approach. I met people who are doing 30, 40 hours of R&D work at home, on their own computers, in Second Life, because THEY have decided their is an eminent danger.
So what THEY are doing is to deny the more substantial positive uses of these tools for a few, perceived, imagined, worse case scenarios. Are there precedents for such decisions. Someone who THEY report to, needs to be found, who can crack open this doomed walled strategy.
Okay, that is my stand. But more people need to be incensed and demand accountability. The IT strategy here is borrowed from mainland China. We are talking about young adults that are being prepared to work, live, in a real world where there are a few Bad Things. Shielding students in apron strings does not prepare them at all.
Anyhow, I had a lot of fun presenting today, and was excited to have such an energetic audience. Again, my big thanks to Alex, to Jo Kay, to (was it Andy?) the IT guy who was more than on top of all the tech stuff, to Jeff for organizing and not getting to bent out of shape as I busted the agenda. The technology was flawless, the broadband as fast as I have seen anywhere (no firewalls either).
Afterwards, I hung out with some of the group for a beer next door, and then headed out to the airport. Tonight I am in Canberra, where I get to do Tour Stop 4 tomorrow at CIT.
Wow, I just listened to my raspy voice in the ustream clips- that sounds awful!