NECC 2007 - Matching Faces To Familiar Brains

Combined with the first annual Edubloggercon, NECC 2007 was the best conference I have ever attended. Ever. And I've been to my share of conferences. Part of the reason it was so great is because, for the first time in our planet's history, this conference was AJAX-ed to the MAX, steeped in Second Life, and totally Twitter-powered. Presenter after presenter described exciting new online tools and trends including references to:

  • Mashups and remixes
  • Google Tools and other online productivity applications
  • Podcasting, blogging, and collaboration - this time shifting emphasis to activities that our students can do (instead of only us teachers)
  • Creative Commons
  • The educational uses of cell phones, Palm Pilots and other mobile devices
  • The Digital Generation
Second Life was another technology that received a lot of "buzz". It was exciting to see so many educators learning about Second Life and ways that they could use it in their teaching. My personal favorite thing to do while I was "in-world" during the conference was to find a group that was learning about Second Life and then move my avatar so that it was in their avatar's field of view. Once there I would quickly perform a series of flexing, yawning, and hula-dancing gestures while the presenter's back was turned - guaranteed to produce a few laughs for participant's first lives. On a side note, ISTE returned my box of free Second Life Pay Attention T-Shirts. If there's interest, I'll find another place to stash the box - post a comment if you're interested.

Finally, NECC 2007 was the first conference I had ever attended in a Twitterized fashion. With Twitter, I have been able to "follow" the lives of dozens of other like-minded people from all over the world. Excitingly, I was able to personally meet many of my "Twitter Friends" this year at NECC, turning them in to genuinely real friends. I think that Kevin Honeycutt said it best when he told me that this conference was amazing because we were finally able to match the faces to the brains we had already come to know and love.

I'm struck with an amazing realization as I view both my RSS Reader and my list of Twitter friends. From those two lists alone, at NECC 2007 I was able to meet (and in most cases hold genuine, transparent conversations with) each of the following people for the first time:
Like I said, it was a great conference. I'm ready to do it again soon.

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