Yesterday was the last TechForum. Hall Davidson kicked the conference off with a keynote and I think we saw him at his very best. The closing was flawless. It was a lot of things that I’ve seen him present before, but much that was brand new. He’s expanded on the concept of unique uses of the Net for conducting research that leverage the new read/write quality of the digital realm.
As an example, he brought up a study of Katie Couric, to determine if she was too perky for a night time anchor slot. So they searched the web for references to perky and Katie Couric, along with other names. She ranked higher than Kathy Lee Gifford, Paris Hilton, and Margaret Thatcher, who topped Dick Cheney by only a few references — and Condoleezza Rice only trumped Quasimodo by 22.
The point was that they were not searching what Toyota, Stanford, and the Department of Energy thought of the night position candidate — sources of content for the old web. They were interested in references left on the Internet by people like you and me, and because of the new web, we are leaving our presence and experiences for others to see, study, and learn from.
After the keynote, Hall, John Fleischman and I participated in a panel discussion about emerging technologies, and it was one more of the many times when I wish I had turned my iPod recorder on. I shared the same old stuff about the new web and our need to expand our notions of literacy. But John blew us all away with what he shared about Internet II and asynchronous collaboration tools. Hall presented more about media, including demonstrations of using iPods as presentation tools.
But the high point for me was the afternoon EduBloggerCon. These things can be tricky, especially when you have educators who are prevented from using blogs and wikis because of filtering software and district policy. There is a great deal of frustration there, that is difficult to get positive new knowledge from and also impossible to ignore.
Yesterday’s session practically ran itself. We had Quizdom clickers in the room, and conducted a quick survey at the beginning of the session. Patrick will send me the data, but in only a couple of questions (RSS & Aggregators) did more respondents indicate less than confident knowledge than those who considered themselves knowledgeable.
Actually, the only point where I had to do any real teaching was to demonstrate how RSS and aggregators work. They were on the edges of their seats. 😉 We ended with a killer apps sharing, “what’s your favorite Web 2.0 tool?” Mainly, I tried to remind the participants that at the same time that we were talking about these cool new tools, that it was critical that we understand that these cool new tools were changing how we use information, and, as a result, changing the shape of information.