Bump on the blog
Tim Holt - Preaching to the ... You Know
Ulearn 07 was a very different conference for me. I have taken some time to try and figure out why. This is the 7th ICT/Educational conference I have attended in the last 3 years. What made the difference? I thought it might be that I presented more workshops than I attended and therefore I was intellectually drained. But that wasn't it, as I would hold this conference up as the best so far. Then it came to me. After attending so many conferences I have made many connections, I know a lot of people. I stop and pass the time of day with them and discuss what powerful learning they have engaged in, but it is somewhat superficial. This year at Ulearn 07 with the Blogger's Cafe, I made some strong connections. Meeting people who I have virtually known for the past year at least was remarkable. It was as though we had a foundation to build a community on. It is interesting, I have read about how the internet can help extend real friendships, with the Blogger's Cafe, I found that F2F can help extend virtual friendships. It was a privilege to spend the time with these talented NZ (and Scottish) bloggers, and I rushed back from each session to the cafe to continue with the discussions.
There has been discussion in the blogosphere about whether or not these Blogger's Cafes are a good thing.
Almost to a person, the best part of the conference really had nothing to do with the conference itself, but rather was the blog cafe. All of the bloggers talking to other bloggers. Sort of an incestuous feeding frenzy of writers not discussing the conference, but discussing themselves.The argument saying that the bloggers are removing themselves from the rest of the conference, forming a select group and spending all their time promoting themselves. I can understand these comments, but I will argue vehemently that we did not remove ourselves from the rest of conference, but that our participation in the Blogger's Cafe added a whole new dimension to the conference. It is also argued that it is near impossible to find the 'secret handshake' for this select group. I know for a fact that during our time at the conference there were many people who came up to the Blogger's Cafe to find out about blogging, and there were many people willing to share their time and expertise. For the current bloggers it was a treat to meet other bloggers, however the Blogger's cafe definitely served two functions. As I said before, our cafe was for both 'blooming' bloggers and 'budding' bloggers.
Nice blog Bob. Thanks Larry. Nice Blog. That’s quite a big widget you have there Bob. Why thank you.
This quote from Tim Holt is the position I was wrestling with in my post Troubled. I was so concerned about the sheer expanse of the Web community I was worried about it overwhelming me. My fault is that I'm an overachiever and if there is a blog out there then I must read it! But finding balance is important in all areas of our lives and this is just another moment in life for me to practice this skill :)The bigger picture here, is of course, wondering how to get more members in the club. Is there some point that the dissemination of knowledge becomes so large that it becomes counterproductive?
This conference and issue has raised more questions for me than answers, especially about the quality and functionality of virtual relationships. After attending ULearn 07 this year I now know the value of my online community and my virtual friends.