I spent the first three days of this week in Arizona presenting at Maricopa Community College’s 20th Annual Teaching and Learning with Technology Conference. I was invited to be the event’s featured speaker and also present at a breakout panel. I have to say I enjoyed the opportunity tremendously and enjoyed the campus, the people, and the event even more. One thing to keep in mind if you are traveling out to the valley of the sun — it is hot. It took exactly one minute after we landed for someone to give me the, “yeah, but it is a dry heat” line. It didn’t feel all that dry to me … jeez I don’t think it ever dipped under 100.
A very smart and passionate group of faculty took part in a day-long event that saw somewhere in the neighborhood of what looked to be 150-170 people. One of the really cool things about the whole thing is that the Maricopa system is made up of a very diverse set of campuses — all of them do a nice job of coming together around the topic of teaching and learning though. The event also drew a bunch of people from other area schools — the brief conversation I had with the folks from Arizona State was very interesting and it gave me some instant ideas on integrating all the tools we’ve been working on to make it easier for faculty to select the services they want in their classes. I have to say it makes me think of the Edison Services toolset we built while I was at the Solutions Institute.
My breakout session was essentially the Web 2.0 in the PSU Enterprise talk I have been giving for quite some time now … I added a piece on using Web 2.0 philosophies to support and grow communities as well. The talk was well received, but I didn’t feel the typical energy in the room. I have a hard time talking to other schools about the stuff we are doing at PSU … I just don’t like that vibe all that much. It worried me a bit for the featured talk, but when the time came the audience was ready and willing to rock along with me. The talk felt great and it seemed like it struck a chord with a majority of the audeince.
My talk was titled, “Enabling the New Classroom Conversation.” I literally changed it up an hour before because of the intense focus on the Net Generation that the morning keynote provided. I ended up making some quick changes right before going on stage … I actually like what emerged better. It was greared again at taking the underlying notions of Web 2.0 and applying them to the classroom — not solely as technology, but as consistant princliples for cooperation, collaboration, and participation. The point I was trying to make is that there is something very exciting and interesting going on with the new breed of social tools out there that we should be paying very close attention to. These tools do amazing things to engage people and we should be working very hard to integrate these types of approaches. I was working to make the case that these tenants can lead us towards David Warlock’s School 2.0 concept … this is where I am spending all of my time these days … All in all, it went well.
Cool thing is that one thing usually leads to another. I’ve been asked by a couple of the participants if I would be interested in keynoting their events in the near future — of course! I have to give a shout out to the CogDog for making the recommendation to the good people at Maricopa. When I mentioned his name during the lunch talk several people clapped! They love you there, Allan! Thanks again for introducing me to a passionate group of faculty and staff.