Random Thoughts

Final thoughts on Learning 2.0 in Shanghai

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It’s been two days now since the conference ended and I have purposefully not posted my last reactions to the conference to allow my brain time to soak up, rearrange, and make sense of what just happened.

The most important aspect that I think came out of this conference was the formation of a community. The presenters where great, but the ning site itself is where I believe the lasting collaboration and communication will take place. As I’ve been hanging out with Will, Wes and Sheryl these past two days (and now maybe longer do to Typhoon Wipha), it has brought home even more what a community can do. Why are Wes, Will, and Sheryl here? Because of the connections created in this hyperlinked, self organizing, out of control, chaos we call the web. Somehow through all that we make connections, lasting connections that lead to virtual relationships, that lead to sipping wine with Will, Wes, and Sheryl last night in Xin Tan Di.

My last post I asked the question what makes a conference successful…and personally I think I would say that it allows you to create learning connections. Connections that last beyond the conference. Not so much the stuff you learn, the sessions you attend, although that’s great, but the connections you make and the conversations that are started. Virtual connections enhance face to face connections and vis versa. At NECC 06 I didn’t make these connections. At NECC 07 I did in the Bloggers Cafe and those connections that I had made virtually before the conference were enhanced face to face…and those I met face to face at the conference have been enhanced from the virtual connections that have continued afterwards.

So with that in mind we’ve started something special here at the Learning 2.0 conference. We’ve created an atmosphere for those who met face to face to continue that conversation of learning via the ning site. We have created an opportunity to create learning connections and now I need to find a way to keep those connections growing.

One thing I was discussing with Will this morning was that by creating an open community we will never really know where the impact of this conference ends. There is a forum for every presentation, participants were encouraged to write their notes as replies to forum sessions to create a lasting, open, body of knowledge that will live on forever (depending on what happens to ning).

This morning as I was thinking about all of this I created the following visualization of the connections the ning site has created.

The conference ning site is the green dot in the upper right corner with all those lines coming off of it. That’s our community that has just formed, but also take a second to study where these other connections come from, and who else was/is affected by what happened at the conference. It will be interesting to take this same picture a month from now to see how that information has continued to spread. This all just from the ning site and does not take into account the 200+ people that were affected via the twitter feeds.

So what makes a conference successful? Not just connections, but connections that have a lasting impact on the individual. Whether that impacts that person or their students…the connections that are formed and fostered from a conference is how I judge the success of a conference.

Through those connections we learn, we grow, we push both ourselves and each other. Belonging to a professional learning community is an amazing personal professional development. Start a blog, set up an RSS reader, stay active on the ning site and I promise you will learn more through that network in a short amount of time then you have in the rest of your schooling. Will, Wes, Sheryl and I all agree on that one aspect. That this personalize network we all create for ourselves is very powerful. You have to start with you. Make it personal, make it worth while and be a learner.


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I started blogging in 2005 and found it such a powerful way to reflect and share my thinking about technology, this generation, and how we prepare students for their future not our past.


  1. Hi Jeff – I didn’t manage to catch you at Learning 2.0 conference; you always looked so busy. However this is the age of digital asynchronous communication, so here I am leaving you a response.

    I get 100 emails a day as a Tech Director, but what I hate most is the phone – at least if somebody could be bothered to walk to my office, they would see I was in a meeting, but the phone (generally Thai vendors)…… Anyway before I get carried away on a rant, I want to thank you for your work at the conference. You had us all Ninging and Twittering before; during and after the conference. I have to admit that I am a little cynical about a lot of Web 2.0 application in schools. We have a farm of Windows SharePoint Portals at NIST with over 3 Terabytes of online (or on network at school) education resources. It just would not be possible to access that scale of data on free online sites. http://www.nist.ac.th/Technology

    But as you said; Ning and Twitter are great for building communities, so I have decided to use it to support ISTEC – the International Schools Technology group in Thailand. NIST is hosting our next meeting on 8th October and I posted the details of the NING and Twitter on our ListServ earlier today http://intschtech.ning.com/
    Unfortunately until the ListServ gets round to delivering the email to the schools in the group; I am in a social network of One – not very social.

  2. Relationships are always the starting place for vision. Vision is the catalyst for meaningful change. Through relationships will come trust and eventually community.

    Thanks for the opportunities. I enjoyed being with you and yours.

  3. Hello..nice piece of information…Thats really true…The outcome of a conference should be definitely the contacts , knowledge u gained or shared and new places u saw , the new theories u heard….and inturn how we can come out of our shell AND REALISE HOW SMALL THIS WORLD COULD BE IF WE WENT AROUND FOR MORE CONFERENCES

  4. Hello..nice piece of information…Thats really true…The outcome of a conference should be definitely the contacts , knowledge u gained or shared and new places u saw , the new theories u heard….and inturn how we can come out of our shell AND REALISE HOW SMALL THIS WORLD COULD BE IF WE WENT AROUND FOR MORE CONFERENCES

    Officially at

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