Virtual conference attendance

This is my week to get on board with Skype.  (Hey, it’s something to do since it is yet another overcast, rainy summer day here!)   And I’ve partly been helping a family member set their account up to use for phone calls on a trip to study abroad.

Last night, I attended my first Women of the Web 2.0 chat, which is held online every Tuesday night.  Whoo hooo…it was actually fun!   The four “women of the web” use Skype to conference in with a guest speaker. If you haven’t tried attending this,  you can listen into the conversation using windows media player, etc., or get on Skype and speak yourself.  Last night’s session was a fascinating one about internet safety,  from a more empowered standpoint–the podcast will be up at wow2 soon. 

This morning, I’m “attending” a little bit of the Building Learning Communities conference in Boston via Skype’s chat feature and courtesy of David Jakes who is there.   The first session I listened in on via chat was Dean Shareski’s on Google Earth, where he shared a site called Google Sightseeing

Another idea I picked up from the session that for some reason hadn’t occurred to me is having students use or Furl bookmarks as a search tool, not just a bookmarking tool.  They can search other people’s tagged bookmarks for ideas for good websites and to network with people knowledgeable about a certain field, (since we bookmark sites related to our interests.) 

The idea as Will Richardson points out is to use the power of the network.   It’s interesting because in the “old” days if you were in graduate school, you used the indexes and particularly the citation indexes to build this type of knowledge base of who were the key players/articles/researchers.  

And now, through the power of the network and these connections, I’m sitting at home, chatting via Skype with Will Richardson, David Jakes, Dean Shareski, and others, as they narrate a presentation by Tim Tyson at the BLC conference. 

It took me about 9 months to reach this point in my own network, encouraged along the way by people at my own campus….people who were willing to say “Why not invite Will Richardson to our campus!” (thanks Vicky) and teachers and computer techs who said, Why don’t we try that out?

As we were chatting during the session, I was thinking about how we don’t really network or encourage our students to network even within the campus very much.

We could use tools like Skype even within our campus, classroom to classroom as a way to connect our students and courses.  I could foresee two classrooms working across Skype to plan something, research something, or have a discussion.   The chat can be saved and logged, as well.

In terms of making these interdisciplinary connections, a group of our teachers attended a workshop at High Tech High this summer on interdisciplinary learning.  I’m eager to hear what they learned about making those connections, and it’d be interesting to tie in some of the web 2.0 tools within our campus as a first step towards building networks for students.

By the way, David Jakes will be Skyping during sessions today and tomorrow if you want to try it out and join the conversation.

3 thoughts on “Virtual conference attendance

  1. I’d like to be right there with you, but I can’t figure out how! I signed up for skype and put David Jakes as a contact. I can’t seem to connect to the chat and I certainly don’t want to call the poor man, who doesn’t know me from Adam. What am I missing here?

  2. Go to David’s website which is linked in my post. He has a timetable of when the different sessions are, so those are the times he’ll be on Skype.
    Click on his name and then click on the little icon for chat, which is blue and looks like a cartoon dialogue balloon. Wait a few minutes. If there is a chat going on, he’ll respond.
    Or go to his blog and post that you want to join the chat on his most recent post, and I’m sure he’ll invite you in!
    Hope that helps. Look for me on Skype as well. I can add you.

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