Record time from central Shanghai to PuDong Airport. 90 miles an hour over rough roads, in a 12 year old Toyota, behind a driver hollering into his cell phone. It has left me a bit dazed and with too little time to properly reflect on Learning 2.008. My flight from Shanghai to Chicago boards shortly, and from there I go to Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and then back to Chicago before the final leg home. It’s a shame, because I suspect that there are gems of lesson to be learned that still rest just beneath the surface of anything I am capable of considering right now.
There are a couple of things that I can report, and chief among them is the overall quality of this event, it’s planning and management, and the jewels of opportunity that it afforded to educators from across Asia and around the world. Of special impact to me was the vast diversity of attendees, from schools in India, Qatar, Thailand, Taiwan, China, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, and Canada. We all say about the best part of the conference is the conversations. Well this one renders that phrase totally inadequate. I was also deeply honored by the company I kept among invited speakers: Clarence Fisher, Brian Crosby, Ewan McIntosh, Jeff Utecht, Chris Smith, David Jakes. It was especially good to work with CogDogBlogger, Alan Levine — whom I’d not met before.
I guess that it is natural to leave a conference like Learning 2.008 with lots of questions — perhaps more questions than answers. In talking about 2.009 in the cab yesterday, we wondered about a conference structure that would demand and generate answers, rather than just the questions. I don’t know if that is possible, but one personal question that I am asking myself more and more is, “Can an evangelist enthusiastically promote his ideas, without sounding like he wants the baby thrown out with the bath watter?” I’m sure we can, but I have to work on honing that skill.
Personally, the high point for me was the digital images conversation moderated by Ewan McIntosh yesterday afternoon. It was an interesting tug-a-war between tips about fStop, Aperture, and depth-of-field from the master photographers, and the desire for a simple cheep (free) image editor for people who just want to put a six-million pixel digital image on a web page. It was a fun game, refereed with charm and humor by Ewan.
For a visual overview of the conference, go here.