For the life of me I can’t remember who I overheard say it or where. It was sometime before NECC. But the statement was, “at this point presentations are for the presenter and the backchannel is for the attendees”. THIS WAS SO NOT THE CASE AT BLC08.
Most of us came prepared for the backchannel. I know when I arrived at Liz Davis’s house Sunday evening, the first thing I did was make sure I could connect to her wireless network. Her husband just laughed. He knew Liz and I would be lost in the technology for the rest of the evening. Come on – admit it. The desk in your hotel room looked similar Dave Truss‘s. There’s no shame in admitting that you came to BLC08 prepared to document, record and participate in as much as possible to build your learning community.
The caliber of sessions I attended was outstanding. I missed two because Liz and I presented twice. (You can view our session wiki at http://bolc08.wikispaces.com/)
So back to the backchannel. Most of the sessions that I attended were UStreamed. Bob Sprankle even recorded podcasts of several for his subscribers. There were dozens of sessions that I wasn’t able to get to since they have not yet been able to perfect the science of cloning. So, UStream and podcasting extended my conference experience by allowing me to attend additional sessions.
One of the sessions that I set up the Stream for had 30 people in the chat room. Now I have no way of knowing if all 30 were from outside of the Newton Marriott, but when I asked the facilitator, Darren Kuropatwa, if I could relay some questions from the chat, we were able to include BLC08 virtual attendees Lisa Durff, CathyJo Nelson and Bud Hunt in the conversation. Had I not been following the backchannel, Darren would not have known until much later that some of his viewers had questions.
Speaking of just-in-time teaching and learning…
Where’s the learning with the backchannel?
Is it a distraction? Maybe sometimes.
It is what you make of it. I feel it’s part of our collective intelligence. It allows for the opportunity to offer a different point of view than what you might be thinking of had you been viewing the presentation in silence or isolation.
The backchannel affords us the chance to discuss, in real time, the topic at hand, rather than going back later when the speaker is unavailable.
Listed below are the resources that I have put together so far. Some of them I have on my iTouch, some in my Diigo, some in my head.
BTW – If you can remember who made that comment about the backchannel – let me know, would ya – I’d like to talk to them about it.
Everything Old is New Again with Darren Kuropatwa and Clarence Fischer
A Day in the Life of a Technology Teacher Presentation by Darren Kuropatwa
This, My Blog Has Taught Me
This is just one of three presentations that Dave did while at BLC08
Clarence Fischer at BLC http://ping.fm/NhJb4
Reflection from the end of the conference: