Tour Stop 3: Sydney

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 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
  • 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.

Texting A Response

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).

Alan is Happy Now

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!

9 thoughts on “Tour Stop 3: Sydney

  1. CRAP! Bloody wrote a comment – started with a RANT and it logged out of the Internet because my time limit was up for my Internet access. Lost the bloody comment after spending ages writing a bloody nice comment (that was a RANT)! Bugger, Bugger, bugger!

    So now you have to have the bloody shorten version – apart for rant about losing comment! Well really annoyed that this session was happening and I could not jump into cause I was at conference – cause i really wanted to. Yes I know I had already BEEN THERE but what I was interested in was seeing it all in action – did not help that I was being told about it why STUCK unable to log in cause was in a session (@#&*) – downside of twitter – you know what you are missing!

    Question though – with all the technology – overwhelm? I know when I decided to use Twitter in a presentation my USA friends cautioned against it. Your thoughts?

    Should also note I don’t acknowledge enough how important Alex is to what I do! Without his constant mentoring, and others, I would not be doing what I do! The Alex’s are very important for us for inspiring us to do more! Although he does deserve loss of points for leaving me looking like absolute crap in SL – thankfully Jo Kay and Sean are wonderful – and came to the rescue!

    Actually this was a better RANT!

  2. Both sessions were archived in ustream – see past clips

    You ought to present what you are comfortable and confident doing, and more so, what you think thre audience can handle. I don’t think there is any blanket advice about whether you should or should not show technology X. I’ve done risky demos for years, but I like the edge. People can see nice clean slides anywhere.

    There’s a billion of them– give them a different experience is my strategy.

    So what is the reason your friends made such a broad blanket caution? Is because you would look “bad” if it did not work? Or maybe your audience would have a better time reading your tweets? I’m not sure I can find the line of logic. Remember about “not being an expert..”???

    Have fun in Melbourne, save the rants….

  3. [ No Alex took control of that screen and masterfully coordinated 3 external environments that highlight the notion of “Being There”. ]

    …….and didnt I cop a rap over the knuckles for pushing the envelope !

    Yes we pushed it further along with aht i means to be unevenly distributed Alan but as I mentioned to you if I thought for one minute that my future lay forever barking about firewalls in education organisations then I’d be off topic.

    I do hope you feel that you had adequate feedback and that you had the floor long enough to ensure that most of the audience felt the trembles in the foundations that are undergoing change.

    A great show, a brilliant speaker and most of all mate I think you’ve cut the mustard with “showing” people in this part of the world that it’s about the cool tools for school and the underpinning ethos behind it all.

    Remember the statistical breakdown of the audience I gave you ? See if you can work out which one’s are the luddettes 🙂

  4. Thanks Alex. I had fun. That’s my bottom line, if you are not having fun doing what you are doing, if it does not bring you joy, inspiration, energy, you are doing the wrong thing.

    Luddite? Isnt some sort of dull mineral?

  5. No no….” luddette ” not ” luddite “.

    Different connotations and different minerals.

    On the ABC ( similar to BBC with Aussie colloquialisms ) recently we were graced with a program where 6 foul mouthed hard drinking “luddettes” as they call themselves from northern UK town/s were treated to some refining socialisation – ie. how to cull a scallop, how to tell the difference between wines, how to dress for dinner etc.

    My reference is in relation to reading deeper into the replies to your questions that came in via SMS. Of course I’ve stripped out the reference to who sent these through individually for privacy and security purposes.

    From my end I have the registration sheet, the persons number and likewise their replies.

    It would appear that your presentation and the questions you asked have frisked out the “luddettes” from the crowd and at the same time given those who would otherwise revel in foul mouthed behaviour a chance to tone back and consider deeply your questions.

    I’ve deleted the who froms etc. and have posted these on the blog to showcase the length, breadth and attitude of your Sydney Australian audience to your masterful presentation.

    Indeed – you had fun and thats what matters.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip and say hello to the Western Australian’s and the South Australians for me.

  6. Actually the advice had to do with relation to your own term “fire hoses”. As you even said — we do have this tendency to want to show people every thing but it can have the opposite effect if we show them too much. It must be this fine line that we walk showing them enough to inspire them to want to get involved but not overwhelming them that they go I have got better things to do.

  7. Alex: They were Ladettes, not Luddettes on that show “Ladette to Lady” (they are the female equivalent of “lads” you see…)

  8. I stumbled through your blog last week and came back again today due to its richness and interesting content. Keep up the good work. Looking forward for a little read after dinner!

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