For a variety of reasons it wasn’t feasible for me to attend #ulearn11. Fortunately hundreds of wannabe and bonafide edugeeks are on hand to help facilitate my learning. So from the comfort of my lounge I ambled into the #ulearn11 conversations. And what a feast of information there was out there.
Alongside the twitter stream which had brief lulls due to network problems there were Google docs of major keynotes from Jack Bacon, Graeme Aitken, Dr Jan Herrington as well as conference breakouts from @MrKempnz, Cheryl Doig and I really loved @mrwoodnz google apps site.
Was it the same as being there?
I don’t get to partake in the offline conversations, the fun, the frivolity and the buzz that comes from attending big conferences but I still got some quick learning bites and had a few twitter conversations along the way.
However this might not always be the case .
InternetNZ tweeted that the online attendance for their
#net11 debate was 20 times the physical audience. With ulearn11 I was definitely in the minority of virtual attendees but will there be a tipping point when more of us will be at home in our PJs browsing our twitter feeds for conference tidbits?
Our conferences no longer have walls but what about our classrooms?
Because the potential for this type of back channeling in education is huge. Even one of the Perth-based members of my Personal Learning Community tweeted that he was enjoyed the links being generated from #ulearn11. What I think is the true power of back channeling is a true democratisation of conferences. It means anybody, from the important person giving the keynote address through to the student teacher sitting in her PJs in Auckland, are contributing to the conference.