My Thoughts: Tuesday at NECC

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What a day!

Like yesterday’s post there was way to much information for my brain to process all in one day but here is random thoughts that I’m still wrestling with.

Skyping Baby NamesSkype Notes: Below you can read the notes that 5 of us took via a session this morning. To be honest the session wasn’t all that good…but Skype allowed us to ask those question and thoughts we have in real time and allow others to feed of them, expand them, and take them in new directions. If you have ever taken notes during a presentation, you know though questions you have that you want answered, those thoughts that you want to hear what others think…those make up our Skype Note. Everyone of us came out of the session looking at each other with wide eyes. It was the first time I think any of us had done something like that and it was so empowering…I’m sure you’ll see another one tomorrow.

Are You a Twitter Ninja?The most interesting part of the day (and the conference) as been the explosion of twitter. Part of yesterday’s conversation was around ways we can use this in the classroom? So today I downloaded TwitterCamp, installed it and the invited people to the Blogger Cafe for a preview of the software (of course the invite came via Twitter). Once there, things got out of control. The conversation started John Pederson grabbed my laptop and hooked it up the a TV that was standing by. From there we decided that nobody would watch it in the corner (and my laptop needed power) so we moved the TV so it was facing away from the Cafe and towards the foot traffic. People then started adding me as a friend and watching to see their twit pop up on the screen. For the next 5 hours the conversation was fantastic and I ended up spending the rest of the day at the Cafe.

Ryan Bretag
and I were talking tonight over where do you categorize twitter? The best thing I can come up with is a hybrid between IMing and Blogging.

IMing is real time syncroness conversation. Twitter is not, but like IMing you write in short straight forward language. Twitter allows you 140 characters so you learn quickly just how much you can write. You also are connected to the network at all times.

Blogging is asyncroness. You write, and at some other time someone (hopefully) stops by and reads it. Twitter is asyncroness but at the same time people are connected constantly like in a IM format.

So is Twitter a mashup of these two tools? You have a quick asyncroness conversation tool that allows you access to a learning network when you need it.

People often say “Yeah, but I don’t need to know when you’re having dinner.” You’re right, but that’s where twitter starts…..but not where it ends. It ends in the links that you share, the questions that you can ask your network, and the insider information you get from others.

Ways Twitter has been used at this conference

  • To update others on good and bad sessions
  • To meet someone somewhere
  • To put a call out to the network for information
  • To ask for directions
  • To ask a thought provoking question
  • To tell people where others are located
  • To pass URLs
  • To ask for help
  • To pass information to others if you see them

I’m sure I’m missing some..sure we get the funny stuff too, like a call for Bloggers in a Bag, but the power comes from the network and connections the tool allows us to create.

How/Can you use it in a classroom? Not sure….but stop by the Blogger Cafe and join the conversation as we all try to figure out just what Twitter is.

Blogging FodderThe best part of my day though was when a teacher walked into the Blogger Cafe and asked if any of us blogged and could we help her. She was having problems getting her blogger blog to tag links that would be picked up by technorati. Within 5 minutes we hooked her into the network: David Jakes who uses Blogger was helping out, John Pederson IMed Vicki Davis knowing that she used Blogger and might know the answer.

The woman sat there for 45 minutes as we collectively helped her get started on her blog. It was a great moment for me…so help someone else join the blogosphere.

All night I’ve been thinking of the Blogger Cafe. What makes it tick? Why are all of us finding the conversation there better than the sessions we came for?

Around the Blogger Cafe there are people lurking on the edges. Once in awhile you can see them listening in on other conversations, watching and learning from afar, but not joining the conversation. We had this question during the EduBloggerCon: Is a lurker part of the community? What ever your thoughts is, we do need to invite these lurkers in to join us in the conversation.

So tomorrow my goal is to go to these lurkers and invite them…maybe they don’t want to join in, but then again maybe they just need an invite. If you are hanging out at the Blogger Cafe tomorrow I encourage you to invite people in to be apart of the conversation, to join the community that is growing there, and to engage in the most amazing conversations I’ve ever been involved in around Ed Tech.

There have been a lot of ways Web 2.0 tools have influenced this conference…I think we’re headed down a new conference path. A new definition of what a technology conference needs to look like, feel like, and support. I know I have been thinking about the conference of the future and how do you help participants to engage in meaningful conversations.


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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. Jeff, thanks for this post. I’ll be Twitter-brief here. I wasn’t able to make NECC, but it was amazing how much I was able to pickup via Twitter. I’ve been slow getting into it (and still not totally), but I’m finally starting to see where it belongs in my edtech toolbox. Your post has helped me clarify this for myself.

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  3. Lurking is good too … I read your blog in my bloglines but never leave a comment!!!! You can learn by lurking… I learnt when I was a child to listen more than I speak so I can learn lots, I feel a bit like that on blogs,… I read much more than I write and learn heaps!

  4. Great post Jeff – I’ll see you in awhile for our last … sniff, sniff… time at Blogger’s Cafe for this conference. Which of our web tools or combo thereof is the most like Blogger’s Cafe? Food for thought.

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  6. Hi Jeff – great notes on the day. the skype transcript was perfect – so often the conversation that goes on around the conference is just as (or more) important than what gets presented. This transcript has let me in on some of those conversations even though I am hundreds of miles away. THANKS!

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  8. Jeff,

    You and Will are an inspiration to me. Sounds like the Blogger Cafe is the place to be. I often learn by lurking. Then I get brave and ask a question similar to the lady you helped today with her blog. You, Vicki Davis, Ryan B., Will, and David Warlick seem so expert, sometimes it is intimidating to ask. But as you pointed out, the conversations are amazing and that is how experts and newbies (like me) learn to use these tools and share them with our students.

    Thanks for a great post.


  9. I found NECC to be excellent but two things struck me in addition to the excellent presentations. I was struck by how many vendors had the words security, safety, monitoring, blocking, restrict, etc…. to promote some way of limiting or tracking students. I understand the need for some guidelines for Internet use in schools but how do we teach ethics and proper use if we block and track everything.
    The other thing that struck me is that as educators who understand the value of technology, we promote 21st century skills. Our state and federal governments however, thanks to NCLB and state testing mandates, test for 20th century skills. I have not seen a single state test that evaluates any skills that fall into the 21st century category. Unfortunately, right or wrong, state tests are the way that schools and teachers are measured. Pushing an agenda for 21st century skills should be a priority but until state tests reflect this reality, it is going to remain a struggle. I thing this should be a discussion topic to have this idea promoted at the state and federal level in addition to colleges that train teachers.

  10. Craig Howat Reply

    I think what you are saying about “lurking on the edges” is right on! Unfortunately, I did not attend this year. I would have liked to be there. I often travel to education conventions and find some of the best collaboration on the floor of the convention with educators bouncing ideas around rather than in the sessions. Perhaps the idea of the cafe or a “round table brainstorming session” for various fields or curriculum can be incorporated into other educational conventions. Thanks for the post! Craig

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