Friday, June 22, 2007

Just completing my spotty attendance at the Canadian E-Learning Conference here in Edmonton. I gave a pre-conference workshop on Creating Virtual Communities and Connections using the Elgg environment. Aside from 30 minutes of network crash time the event went very well. I rather wished I had opened the floor up for more discussion, but my nerves and enthusiasm got in the way. Good grist for a reveiew of my presentation style. But I do believe the reception was positive, and may have actually generated some work for our unit from the Family Medical service here at the University. There is definite interest in creating and maintaining online communities - having a space like Elgg where those who are geographically dispersed can gather and connect.

Speaking of connecting this conference was also fertile for the face to face connections I made. I met Brian Lamb from BC, D'Arcy Norman from Calgary, and Peter Tittenberger from U of Manitoba. (Aside from Saskatchewan we had the Western provinces tippling at the same table) Thanks to Peter, who hired George Siemens as a Research Associate, we now have George steadily employed and able to get his message out to the worldwide audience. Peter and George have also brought us some excellent virtual conferences on ed tech.

Brian and D'Arcy entertained the conference with a compilation of video clips that generated guffaws, groans and laughter from the crowd. See D'Arcy's post on the presentation (and his visible appreciation of the WesteEd mall). Highlight of the movie entrails was the mash up of the nature documentary on spiders/crack spiders, the drift of Pooh into Apocalypse Now and the Sir Ken Robinson's TED talk that so pleasantly speared us for our continued dismissal and destruction of the innate desire in all children to be creative. His talk is particularly pertinent to us today because we have the tools through social software to bring creativity and connectiveness back to the forefront of learning. Maybe. At least Brian and D"Arcy brought some moments of creativity to the conference.

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