Earlier in the week I was privileged to participate in an unconference keynote by Jeff Lebow at the NEIT and NYSAIS conference via a Ustream feed that also allowed me to interact and chat. The experience was pretty overwhelming, and I struggled the rest of the school day to understand and process what I had gone through. The vision and work Jeff put into what he was doing amazed and heartened me. It was as much about vision and utilizing what’s available and pushing others into a conversation to help them understand as it was about perfection. The conference space bandwidth was quickly overwhelmed with what he was doing. But it worked, maybe not perfectly, but all these tools are available as open source or free. Yes, we see satellite feeds and video feeds all the time from TV networks, but what he did was on an open internet access point with tools available to anyone. Having the vision to dream of what these tools can do for education, playfully applying them without regard to trying to impress or sway anyone, and helping other educators/librarians/technologists learn about what these tools may/will do for the education field eventually by promoting conversation was the point. All the conference participants were expected to actively participate by any of several possibilities. What made this conversation different was that it was more a “digital conversation,” as Lisa Durff points out, as it was a face to face conversation. As Durff also points out our students may have types of face to face conversations all the time but we need to help them move their digital conversations to a meaningful and organized level. Here are some of the web apps. that were used: Ustream, Meebo, Snapvine, VoiceThread, Twitter, Widgetbox to promote participation.
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