NECC 2007 ended yesterday in Atlanta. Reading the conversations about the paradigm shift during NECC itself are fascinating. Reading the blogs of edubloggers detail how the greatest energy and excitement came, not from the sessions, definitely not from the exhibit halls, but from the edubloggerscon unconference, from the Bloggers Cafe and from the Skype conversations that happened during sessions.
Jeff Utrecht posted the Skype notes from conversations that happened simultaneously while Will Richardson presented and during a panel discussion. How many times have you sat in a session with thoughts swimming through your head and no way to discuss them? The use of Skype brought a whole new dimension to the participant experience!
Those who engaged in the conversations talk about the impact it had on their learning. What are the implications for our classrooms? Do we just ignore this new use of a Web 2.0 tool or do we grab it's power for the classroom experience? I can hear the objections but this is another opportunity to engage in discussions about acceptable use with our students and involve them in the learning process. We know that we learn when we are engaged, and when we build upon prior experience. This would certainly take it up a notch! Engage the kids during lectures!
Other gems from participants: Check out the Nuggets from NECC (Wes Fryer), Remember the Bloggers! (Will Richardson) The VoiceThread from the Edubloggercon's group pic (Joyce Valenza's great idea! and think about the classroom applications again!), My Thoughts Tuesday at NECC (Jeff Utrecht again with an explanation about how Twitter was used during the conference), Dave Warlick put together HitchhikrNECC, Vicki Davis liveblogging Tuesday morning's Keynote Panel, and discover Joyce Valenza's Web 2.0 Meets Information Fluency wiki which will take you the entire summer to get through! (This is an incredible resource!!)
I know I missed a great deal...this is just a start...so check out the posts tagged NECC07, NECC2007 for information that appeals to you.
One thing that is conspicuously absent to me is any discussion about the implications for our students with special needs. Why is this? Is this because Web 2.0 is UDL and we are engaging all learners by definition? Not necessarily, because some of these tools will be difficult to navigate for those with visual impairments or physical disabilities. It will be interesting to see how this plays out as we strive to remove the barriers for ALL students. The need to keep the tools inclusive is an important, but neglected, part of this discussion.
Another take-away for me (and I didn't attend the conference) is the noticeable lack of student participation. (can't remember who blogged about that....anyone?) What would happen if we showed the tools to our students and watched as they used them as their own learning instruments, and more? We can't keep these tools to ourselves anymore - put them in the hands of kids over this summer. Is there a way to do this? And is there a way to include them in NECC 2008? There's plenty of time to plan that possibility!