NECC07: All over but the flight

As I sit here in the airport waiting for my flight to leave, I’m reflecting on “what just happened?”

I’ve been thinking about my experience at this year’s conference compared to last years. In my eyes I don’t even think you can compare the two. Maybe it was my outlook on the conference…but I think it has to do more with the way this conference was set up.

EdubloggerCon was a great kickoff to the conference…it started conversations that carried through the Blogger Café and into Will Richardson’s Spotlight session Wednesday Morning. This lounge area was created as a place to charge up and post blogs. We did blog, but face-to-face instead of on our web sites. David Warlick had a twit this morning that said “Trying to blog, but have given up and blogging f2f.” I think we all felt the same. If you wanted to write a blog entry you literally had to get up and leave the area…the conversation was so intense…so engaging that it sucked you in. For me, it just drove home the fact that blogging is about conversations. It’s not about writing, it’s not about journaling, it’s about connecting, sharing, conversing, and being part of a professional learning network.

It was face to face blogging. It became such a conversation that today I showed up at the Café at 8:30 and couldn’t find a seat! Tables were moved, people created circles and just like blogging people came and went like wondering through an aggregator. I commend NECC for creating these lounge areas and I have a feeling you’ll be seeing more next year. Some of our conversations at the Café were around how to improve the space for next year. I hope that NECC gives some of us a chance to help design and create this area to include more voices and allow for even more conversations to take place.

One thing I still can’t believe is the people I was able to meet and the people who wanted to meet me. That shocked me more than anything…and I must say I feel honored to be on anyone’s “who I want to meet list.” I know when you publish things to the web they are read by people all around the world, but it’s not until those people approach you just to say “hi”, to say “I read your blog” or take a picture with you does it really hit just how connected we all are.

It was an NECC about conversations, about connections, you had to create them yourself, but at least we had the opportunity to create them, to come together in a Web 2.0 fashion and just learn.

There was a lot of experiments. We experimented with Twitter, with Skype Notes (read below) and with other Web 2.0 tools. We all shared our knowledge; worked together to figure out problems and even taught each other new things. I’m looking forward to reading Brian Crosby’s post on how his new RSS reader has changed his reading habits.

Overall, NECC allowed these conversations that we talk about in the blogosphere to happen, allowed them to organically take place and that was the most powerful part of the Blogger Café.
Thank you to everyone who pushed my thinking, experimented with me, and just got down and geeky! I would say goodbye…but I know that we are all connected and that the conversations will continue!

See you in San Antonio!

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5 Comments

  1. I was struck in awe by the sheer power of the minds at work in the cafe’. As being a relative noob to the edublogosphere, I am still treading water around many of you that had already had a relationship via skype or other conferences. I’m not really shocked at how easy it was to strike up a conversation with each and every one of you. It was like a wake up call…these are regular joes..just like me. Thanks for being a part of my first, and best up to this point, NECC.

    Tom Turner
    http://tnturner.edublogs.org
    Seeking the Wisdom of the Ages

  2. I didn’t get to go to this conference, but I do look forward to the day I can meet face to face with the people whose blogs I read and whose names I encounter time and again in my online stamping grounds. I like the idea of having my picture taken with them – perhaps I should make a list like my birdwatching family, and tick them off as I see them!

  3. I didn’t get a chance to meet some people because I became so engaged with the folks that I did meet. It’s hard to say, but this one doesn’t feel like there is a conference crash coming. Be it writers block, or red tape, it feels freeing to have an outlet for when you hit the wall.

    It’s interesting to read posts of sessions we were in together. 1. To read the different POV’s we all get and 2. To think you could have been setting near someone you “know” so well, but have still never met.

    Will people look back to blogging as the tool that revolutionized public education?

  4. Jeff, a big thanks to you and all the bloggers, podcasters, wikiers, twitterers, and skypecasters(!) from NECC 2007! Still checking it all out – and learning. – Mark

  5. Hey Utecht-

    It was great meeting you at NECC. Enjoy teaching your graduate class and hopefully the M’s have a successful final half of the season.

    D. Draper

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