I can’t believe it’s been that long since I posted and yet I’m glad I took the time off. It is good to disconnect once in awhile, to reflect on ones life and to spend time with family.

My mom and dad flew in on Dec. 14 for their first visit every to China. Of course I set up a blog for my mother so she could write about her experience and family members back home could follow their journey through Shanghai, Bangkok, and Beijing. It was a great two weeks of spending time off the grid. But I missed it (not sure if that is a good thing). The network is where my friends are. It’s the daily connections, the Skype chats, the reading and writing. That is what 2007 will be remembered as. For me it was the “Year of the Network”.

2007 saw networks flourish. Looking back to what I wrote last year (Jan. 4, 2007):

Today, I woke up looking forward to tackling the long list of e-mails that awaited me from my 2 weeks of being disconnected (OK, I checked e-mail twice while in Vietnam). I made it through 2 e-mails, but instead was part of 3 Skype chats, 2 Skype calls, 4 Google Chats, and 1 more Skpye call tonight. Is this 2007? The year when chat and VoIP take over the world, when e-mail finally does not do justice to the conversations we are having? If so I’m excited.

Little did I know then that I was talking about the learning network that would defined what 2007 was for me. It was the year of the network. The year of my Skype contact list becoming to long, having 400+ people on twitter, and trying to define the difference between a learning community and a learning network.

As I reflect back over the past year it’s been an interesting one both personally and professional. Leading me down a path that ultimately saw me resign from my current position for something “different” (yet to be defined). Does that mean a different school? A different job? Or something more like what Clay and Will write about? One thing that I do know is that it will be my network that will help me find what “different” is either directly or indirectly, I believe it will be the network that leads to my next road in life.

So that leaves me looking ahead to 2008. Not knowing what the future holds for me personally or professionally. I can feel it though. Like a rain storm coming on a hot summers day. The kind you can watch rolling in off the mountains and you smell the rain before it starts. Something is going to give in 2008, like the storm that sits over the mountains for days before unleashing it’s down pour, it is going to come.

Barbara Torris left a comment the other day that has had me thinking about what the future holds for education, learning, and networks. What is going to “tip us forward” in 2008 that we will be talking about a year from now?

I believe it has to do with the “Live Web” that Doc Searles talks about (via Will Richardson). If 2007 was the year of the network, then I believe 2008 will be the year of the “Live Web”.

I base this souly off my own experiences but here’s what I see happening on the web today.

Ustream.tv: I’ve been very impressed with this web site and its ease of use. Live video where anyone that wants to can have their own web channel. Ustream is just the beginning. In 2008 we’ll see more web sites like this start to pop up.

Podcasts: The edtechtalk network has been doing this for awhile. But I think we’re going to see an increase in live broadcasts on the web with an archive podcast. I’m still looking for the perfect app that will stream your podcast live and archive it as an mp3 at the same time…basically a ustream for audio files.

Of course live chat will become even more popular.  I host all my web sites at bluehost.com partly because they offer 24/7 chat support on their front page. I know I have instant access to live support when I need it. Part of the reason I bank with the bank I do is for live chat. From 9am-5pm Monday – Friday my bank offers free live chat service via their web site. Living overseas this has been a huge benefit knowing I can chat with someone from my bank and not pay long distance phone charges.

I believe we’ll continue to see an increase in these types of live on-demand applications. I can see credit card companies getting on board, more banks, etc. The streaming of live content will continue to evolve and I think we’ll see more schools using this as well. Live video of school sporting events. Live feeds from classrooms or presentation. Yes, 2008 is going to be different. There’s a storm brewing out there, I can smell it…..and I’m exciting to find where my place is in it!

[tags]networks, liveweb[/tags]

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