What a conference should be…

I’ve spent the past three days at the Instructional Technology Institute Conference at Utah State. I feel bad about my lack of blogging during that time — though not that bad, as I needed to finish my presentation and I’m a lousy note-taker. Thankfully Stephen has attended most of the same sessions that I have, and he’s done his usual thorough work.

The event was simply outstanding, one of the best I’ve ever attended. Each session I was at was strong — no clunkers — and the relatively small size and relaxed atmosphere has made it easy to chat and mingle. I won’t try to match Downes for detail or incisive commentary, but do want to offer a few shout-outs:

* It was a thrill to see Lawrence Lessig… and he set the tone with urgent pleas for saner copyright laws and the culture of remix. There wasn’t a whole lot of surprises in his talk, but he’s a legitimate A-Lister, and when David Wiley introduced him as one of his heroes, it was hard not to agree.

* Ulises Ali Mejias gave a great talk on the qualities of orality and literacy in discussion boards, weblogs and wikis; and outlined his model for Distributed Textual Discourse. He backed up his theory with the framework for a tool that would take many of the strengths of wikis and address many of their weaknesses. Right now the tool is vapour-ware — but his presentation seemed to pique the interests of a few of the local code-geeks, and if his idea comes to fruition it would constitute a tremendous addition to the array of hypertext systems. I really enjoyed meeting and talking with him.

* Trey Martindale led two sessions: one, an analysis of a set of categories for notable educational websites (the compiled list of which is itself a valuable resource); the other a melodrama concerning the travails of introducing weblogging into a higher ed institution. Trey is one of the best facilitators I have ever seen — instantly creating a vibe in the room that’s warm and cooperative — he’s got that rare gift of being very funny without going off-topic. He’s co-presenting a session with David Wiley (no slouch himself as a teacher) on weblogging at the AECT Conference in Chicago this October, and I’d love to see those two in action together. (I’m flattered they chose to call their talk “Bloggin

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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4 Responses to What a conference should be…

  1. Pingback: Mashing Up the Open Education Conference

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