A Great Night at NECC

6:03 AM

Tuesday NightLast night will go down as a high point in 2005 NECC. First of all, I went to the Technology & Learning Reception, celebrating their 25 years in service to educators. It was outstanding fun visiting with old friends and making some new ones. I’d planned to also visit at least one other reception, but fatigue and lack of time prevented it. I did make it to the student film festival, which, as anticipated, knocked my socks off. They were all not surprisingly good, and a few were professional quality in the production and imagination. I’m convinced that kids look at video information in ways that I don’t. They see nuances in how information is delivered, and leverage them in their own productions. I was more than impressed.

As the showcase was ending, Andy Carvin ran up to me and Clint Kennedy, saying that there was a long line at the door to the Podcasting party that Apple was putting on. To be honest, I was expecting a birds of a feather type session with 15 or 20 geeks talking about how the generated their RSS feeds. The line was long and thick, awaiting the gates’ opening for a rock concert. We got in line and performed a dueling podcast.

They got half of us into the room and decided to do two parties so that everyone who came could have the podcast experience. Apple’s presentation was quite good. They presented the podcast concept very clearly — impressively clearly. Although podcasting is quite simple, the vocabulary and the exceptions can make it confusing to someone who is learning from scratch. Andy Carvin did catch them on one, very important, exception, and the speaker acknowledged the omission. Still, the point was to portray podcasting as a communication avenue that is simple — made infinitely more simple by iTunes 4.9. “Yaaaaaay!”

Now, Apple is at NECC to make a living, as am I. So I blame them for nothing about their presentation. But during my session tomorrow, Step Aside, CNN! I’m Listening to My Podcasts [12:00PM, PACC 113A], I will acknowledge the real pioneers of education podcasting, and many of them will be in the room.

I must confess some skepticism about podcasting’s hype. It’s part of being more than a half-century old. Most of the people I talked with in line, did not know what podcasting was. It is a buzz. It is the new “thing”. It does have enormous potential, but not as the new technology to integrate into the classroom. Its potential is in helping students learn to communicate richly and compellingly. Its potential is in bringing rich and appropriate content into the classroom that plugs into learning styles that textbooks just don’t hit. It’s not about technology. It’s about the “new shape of knowledge” — the changing nature of information.

12 thoughts on “A Great Night at NECC”

  1. Hi David,

    Good to see you here… I’ve recommended your site to our teachers numerous times. I definitely see the focus, or at least the hot topics this year **podcasting**, **blogs**, and **better teacher training** or professional development.

    We’ve got plans for next year to do blogging for all our teachers first semester; second semester, we will have blogging available for all teachers for their students. We’re going to turn comments ON for students, but host the server only on our internal network… this takes away a bit of the “reality of me publishing online” for students, but I hope it doesn’t make it less interesting as a method of learning and writing.

    I look forward, too, to letting some teachers try a “radio show” approach to their classes with podcasting. This should be an exciting year, like this conference has been…

  2. It was quite an event, wasn’t it? I do agree with you when you say that it has huge potential but “not as the new technology to integrate into the classroom.” As I’ve posted about on the On the Cutting Edge-ucation, I still don’t think it will have nearly as much of an impact as blogging. Like you’ve said on several occasions, blogging is a conversation. Podcasting, at least in its current form, is not. I think it probably has more implications for the general public than specifically for educators. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still huge, but I don’t think it is even remotely close to ‘blog-huge’.

  3. David, thanks again for all the reports from NECC. I feel as if I could at least experience some of the great exchange of ideas through your blogs and podcasts. I was wondering if you know of a place on the web where it is possible to view the videos from the student film festival?


  4. I agree the whizbang appeal of podcasts will cause people to use them just because they can, but I think we’ll start seeing teachers and kids using podcasting not only to “bring rich and appropriate content into the classroom”, but more importantly, they are going to be pushing content out in a BIG way. Radio dramas, news shows, kids interviewing notable people and each other, student lectures, personal podcasts, it’s a new day and I’m really excited.

  5. I was at the SIGTC Forum for your presentation and you did a great job. I posted my notes of your presentation at http://www.eschoolnews.com/eti/2005/06/000890.php in case others are interested in what you had to say (I hope my notes are accurate).

    I picked up the book that you recommended, “The World is Flat” and hope to read it this summer. It was also recommended at two other sessions I attended.

    From this point on you are on my list of presenters I will look for at conferences.

    I noticed you at several other sessions, including the “Birds of a Feather” for blogs and wikis, and have posted a few pictures on Flickr – http://www.flickr.com/groups/necc05/pool/

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