Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Reflections on AUSTAFE2005 and our presentation on Networked Learning

sean moblogging an image of leigh

Our presentation and related efforts at the AUSTAFE2005 conference went really well. We had a pretty big audience in front of whom we talked about and demonstrated wikipedia, creative commons, RSS, blogging, audio blogging and podcasting, moblogging and the new literacy generally, with a few other things to do with freedom along the way.

The set up for our 30 minutes of fame was pretty cool too. We had three projection screens. One at the front and two to the sides. While I talked to the one at the front, the others would load up relevant screens to the side, and vice-versa. I'd say it was a pretty immersive kinda show for everyone who was there.

The audience was made up of TAFE big wigs (managers, directors, privileged staff, etc). Quite a few came up afterwards to congratulate us, some saying we were the highlight of the conference. Of course those sort of compliments are a good sign, but apart from creating an enigma around ourselves, did our message hit home?

In the end I think most of the audience were simply bewildered, and maybe a few felt sheepish. Certainly everyone understood, but what we were proposing was obviously paradigm shifting stuff and flew in the face of almost everything being practiced in TAFE colleges around Australia. People could see that we were saying most organised educations are heading in completely the wrong direction with regard to understanding the impact of the Internet on learning!

Anyway, Stephan Ridgway and Sean Fitzgerald did a fine job audio recording all the presentations and packing them into a podcast, and we're all in the process of uploading pictures. Anne Paterson, Marcus Ragus and Alex Hayes did an impressive job moblogging the conference, and I'd say Michael Nelson really captured the message with his bit. This presentation was a good opportunity for us to focus our thinking, helping us to understand what we are all doing and how it all fits.

As Stephan said over beers the night before our big 30 minutes. "...This conference is just a junket for people who are otherwise so caught up in the bureaucracy of it all... its a chance for them to get a moment away from all that, get an over view... but afterwards they back in it... what we have to say on the day will be just a brief blip on their radar.."

Slightly depressing I know, but realistic. Managers are as much in control of what happens as you or I.

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