It’s too late for me to write a proper recap of the day, and I barely have two synapses to rub together. But experience has taught me that overviews best be captured quickly. Hopefully I can follow up on a few things later.
Our session Beyond the Blog went as well as I could have hoped. For perhaps the first time ever, I was not anxious going into a talk. That was because I felt the material was solid (mostly due to the estimable CogDogBlogger), and we had decided we would simply set the stage with questions and place our faith in the wisdom of the crowd. We were amply rewarded with a tremendous room — there was some audio recorded (MP3 13.5 MB), and I hope it captures the participants because there were a lot of excellent points made. It is always a pleasure and privilege to share a podium with Alan — what a talented and fun fellow he is. I can’t say enough about him. I won’t apologise Alan (inside joke), but I do thank you.
I got to sit with Alan and Bryan at lunch! Worth the trip down in itself. Alan Kay gave a talk ostensibly about the $100 laptop , but which took in a broad range of contextual issues that were quite provocative. This is a rare keynote-type talk that I hope they post audio for, there were some great moments I would like to go back and review. I was wondering where Gardner was during lunch, but apparently he was dining with the man himself — I do hope to learn more about what went on there.
Steve, Liz and Dean gave a wonderful talk on using wikis to empower student learning. There were some insights that came out during the student reaction section that were novel to me and I need to think them through. And I wish we had more student voices at conferences like these — Liz and Dean were poised and articulate, and my read of the room is that they opened a lot of eyes besides mine.
This event marks the second anniversary of my first Bryan Alexander experience, and I have seen him speak on five or six occasions since then. You’d think I would be able to keep up with him by now, but if anything he dazzles and confounds me more each time out. This talk on alternate reality games was a virtuoso performance. He created an ARG disguised as a Livejournal blog and used it as a means to explore the mysterious and often arcane techniques these narratives utilize. Quoting a phrase Bryan was kind enough to leave as a comment on this blog, ARG’s create an uncanny “first sense of unfolding connections, stretching off into shadows.” Which captures the sensation I felt today as an attendee.
All this material so skilfully delivered that I found myself literally gasping in disbelief, my mouth gaping open like a slack-jawed yokel. As the talk wrapped up, I debriefed with a crew that included Alan and Gardner (who had some keen insights about how these emerging forms of narrative might be situtated in a hermeneutic literary critical context). After all that, my mind was so revved up my metabolism went into a weird overdrive, and I experienced a total neurosystem crash as a result. I hope that explains this shoddy post.
Do I seem excessive with my praise? I don’t care if I do. This talk was that good. Gardner did some recording, I fervently hope it turned out OK.
You can’t go home again, but two years on we returned to the In-N-Out burger, site of the most rewarding fast food meal I have ever consumed. This time with an augmented crew — besides most of the people already mentioned in this post, we had Rachel Smith, Ernie Ackerman, and Leaf fan, inveterate innovator, and groovedaddy Andy Rush. I cannot express how fortunate I felt to be part of this gathering of amusing, intelligent and passionate peers. It is a small token of the esteem that I and everyone else feel for Dr. Glu that we happily piled into taxis and headed to a remote burger joint for our dinner.
This post probably reads over-the-top. I admit I am overwhelmed, but I stand by every word. Days like today remind me why I am lucky to be engaged in this profession.
All that remains is to get Alan his fish tacos. And you know what? He can call them penultimate if he wants to.