18 January 2010

ScienceOnline 2010: Final Thoughts (For Now)

---photo by MamaJoules

I don't really know how to eloquently sum up the whole ScienceOnline 2010 experience. All I can think of is a Keanu Reeves' like "Whoa."

I am sure that I will be processing all of the ideas, conversations, and experiences for awhile. There is quite the archive of tweets from the conference, if you are so inclined. Here are some of my Lessons Learned:
  • I will never be the owner of a Sleep Number bed. I tried to find my perfect sleep number---I really did. I inflated and deflated the inner balloon in the mattress. I set different numbers for each side so I could do a comparison before making a decision for the night. I even read the posts Bora suggested for us in my search for a comfortable night on such a mattress. It was all for nought. The problem with these mattresses is that they have no give to them---they don't conform to the shape of your body or your sleeping position. Very uncomfortable.
  • I gained a cold (courtesy of Scicurious) and lost my coat. Double sigh.
  • As frustrated as we educators are with our IT staff and administration when it comes to using web 2.0 tools in the classroom, I can guarantee you that similar frustrations are being voiced at colleges, universities, science museums/zoos, and other institutions. However, there are exceptions to every rule. Damond Nollan, web manager at NCCU, is just such an exception. While there is no doubt that there will always be concerns about web security and the "digital footprints" we leave as we make our way through the internet, these should not rule out our attempts to learn and connect. Thank you, Damond, for your leadership in this area.
  • Cell phones in learning (and not just for science) will become increasingly important. I understand the challenges of harnessing their power for the classroom---and that we educators will have to figure out how to manage that. However, I picked up two interesting pieces of information last week that has made me more determined to work on incorporating cell phones into instruction. First of all SMS (texting) is the "king" of communications---it works across all types of carriers and in all countries. Secondly, it is a tool that is not necessarily impacted by disparities in equity. (Data plans/Smartphones are---but not texting from a basic cell phone.) This means that the kinds of divides we see among "haves and have nots" for other technology and access don't exist with this tool.
  • I still cannot believe I really met all of the amazing people that I did. I will try to work on a list and some links to share of new-to-me blogs and conversations. There was only one session which was a disappointment to me---the moderators being the only evidence of a clique I ever saw for the conference and their approach to a topic which showed no hint of personal reflection was a bit insulting. However, the blogosphere takes all kinds. I can appreciate examples of what not to do just as much as the blogs which inspire me.
  • Finally, below are three screenshots of tweets from the conference. They are the ideas that intrigued me most, but didn't get explored. Perhaps they will serve as fodder for future posts. If you have some thoughts to share about any of these ideas, I'd enjoy hearing them.

Assuming that ScienceOnline continues and grows, I wonder if what makes it intimate and participant-driven will be able to stay as the center of things. What is the maximum size a conference can be for remaining a reflection of what attendees build for themselves?

Did you attend the conference either in-person or "ether"eally? If you're an educator, would you be interested in something like this---what sorts of topics would be most useful? Educon is coming up, which is probably akin to ScienceOnline in some ways, but does not attract the diversity and expertise we had last week (although it attracts plenty of attention from the EdTecherati). Maybe we need to reboot our educational gatherings.

Update: There is a great list of BlogMedia Coverage on the ScienceOnline 2010 site. One in particular, is a response to this post by Greg Laden. Go give him some comment love.


Greg Laden said...

Very nice summary. I've responded on my blog, and I hope my readers come over here and put in their two cents. That last bit about growth (good/bad) is very important and has been on my mind all long. I've been involved with several groups that had this issue, and managed in some cases to ruin the event, other cases preserved it.

scicurious said...

AUGH I AM SO SORRY!!!! On reflection I shouldn't have gone all germy...

Sandra Porter said...

thanks for being there SG!

I'm got the chance to meet you in person and greatly appreciated your help and guidance with the session.

The Science Goddess said...

Sandy---it was good to finally meet you, too. Hard to believe that for the time we've been blogging and our geographical closeness that we haven't met until now. I hope we continue to work together.

Sci---Hey, I consider the cold to be extra "swag." The conference would not have been as fun without your germy self. I'm glad you came!

Greg---I love your post! Readers, have a look at his Point by Point Response to my post.

Damond Nollan said...

Thank you very much for the positive review. You just don't know how much I appreciate you and the support you all have shown me.

I am truly humbled. :D

Thank you!

hschinske said...

Does this mean I have to learn how to text? Aaaarrrggggh. DO NOT WANT.

The Science Goddess said...

hschinske---I wasn't thrilled about the idea of texting, either. And then, I got a phone with a keyboard and that has made a lot of difference. I don't do very much (maybe 50 a month, at most), but it's very handy for a lot of things.

Not to worry, though. At the rate at which school policy change occurs, we may both be very old and very grey before cell phones and texting are allowed in classrooms.