I went to the annual conference for the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST) for the first time last month and then to the annual conference for the American Educational Research Association (AERA) right afterwards. In fact, I flew directly from one conference (Orlando) to the other (New Orleans). The short story is that AERA is much bigger than NARST, that Orlando surprisingly kind of sucks for a conference due to horrible food choices and no public transportation or sidewalks, and that New Orleans during the French Quarter music festival is amazingly awesome.
Last week I went to Long Beach, CA for the Digital Media and Learning conference. It was great meeting a ton of people (too many to list, sorry), sharing a room with Moses Wolfenstein and Sean Duncan, having breakfast with fellow DML Summer Institute people, getting dinner with fellow Terror Novans, and seeing demos of really cool projects (cf below). The highlight of the presentations was definitely the ignite talks–quick 5 minute talks with an auto-advancing slidedeck. One presenter couldn’t make the second ignite session, so Alex Halavais took to the stage and did an improv talk with slides he had never seen before! And it was it was hilarious, on-point, and relevant!
Last year, Jeremy Hunsinger and I set up an etherpad for the conference where anyone attending could collaboratively take notes and chat about the sessions. This year, I set up the same thing with a Google doc and blasted the url to Twitter periodically. I’m disappointed in the turn-out of the gdoc use, especially given that the theme of many of the talks was about collective and collaborative/participatory production and understanding of cultural artifacts, curricula, etc. I saw many people using laptops and iPads to take notes, but those notes will forever be sequestered, not shared. 🙁
My reasoning is that together we can attend everything. There were 7 concurrent tracks. Together we could have let everyone learn about each one.
As it is, I think the few of us who used the gdoc hit about a quarter of the sessions. I think for next year I’ll suggest an official gdoc or other collaborative note-taking tool be used.
There was also some backchannel activity in an IRC which got pretty snarky. I think that’s fine and quite entertaining but I wish naysayers in that backchannel would ask questions during the sessions they had particular problems with.
Overall, the type of talk around digital media literacies and games took a step backwards, I think… or maybe just treaded water from last year. There’s two things that contributed to this I think. It seemed like this year there were many more people coming from non-profits and non-academic places, so they had to be caught up with new-to-them ideas. Additionally, there was a confluence of people from different disciplinary backgrounds, so they too needed to step back a bit to lay some foundational common language down. One example was the IRC discussion about the label “gamer” and whether someone is a “hardcore” vs. “casual” gamer. I think it was a useful discussion, and, yes, it did help me better articulate things in my head. Yet games people such as the scholars who regularly attend GLS had already covered that ground a year or two ago.
I said it at IR10 and SoP, and I’ll say it again. 1. Twitter is a horrible backchannel tool since it is too open, too 140 character limited, too persistent, and 2. it’s NOT a backchannel when you project it behind the speaker!!!
Personally, I think snark and irreverence is perfectly fine in a backchannel, so long as it’s also constructive, productive, informative, and on topic. I think their reactions to the content of the bc is overreactionary, but it’s all besides the point because the conference organizers shouldn’t have been broadcasting it in the first place. It’s a BACKchannel!
I deleted Twitter from Lifestream’s feed, so the daily digest should just include Google Reader (and Pandora if I can get it working). I also noticed that my blog was one of the feeds. Deleting that should kill the recursive pingbacks I’ve been getting.
Weekly digests via Twitter Tools is now off, too, but the sidebar is still up.
We’ll see how it goes. Facebook recently made their status updates more accessible or something, so that might change the way I update in the future.
As for reading my friends’s feeds, I’ll delay a solution a little until I get a new phone. 🙂
The topmost sidebar widget on the right of the blog is from Twitter Tools. I like it, and it provides more info than Twitter’s official Flash-based widget.
The weekly digest (that was posted on Saturday) is also from Twitter Tools. I also like it and how it is formatted. I could not figure out how to set it to a different time than 1 AM, though. Whenever I set the time to a different one and hit Okay, the form would reset.
What I like about Lifestream is that it is somewhat like FriendFeed and captures updates from multiple feeds including Twitter and Google Reader. What I don’t like about Lifestream is that it didn’t seem to successfully capture my Pandora thumbs up and thumbs down picks. I also don’t like how the daily digest includes the previous day’s daily digest in its… er… digest. That seems rather redundant and cyclical, causing a little pingback comment to be generated each time, too.
I’m not sure yet. I like the sidebar of Twitter Tools and I like Lifestream’s Google Reader capture. Maybe what I should do is keep both, but start disabling the things I don’t like about each.
Is anyone finding the daily digest excessive? What if I had a weekly Google Reader digests and just the Twitter feed on my sidebar?
And, while I’m asking, giving people better indication about me is just one side of what I want. I also want a better way of keeping track of people. Right now I’m following certain people on Twitter and Friendfeed, but neither are being pushed to me, so I’m not getting a good sense of when things are happening. Likewise with my Facebook friends… by the time I comment on a status update, it could be quite irrelevant, not to mention that most updates get lost in the ether before I can even see them to comment. Anyone have a good solution to this? Does having an unlimited data plan solve it or would I then be overwhelmed?
So, should I be converting batches of my twitter updates and google reader shared items into daily or weekly blog posts on this site, or would that be too spammy?
Are you all (all 2 of you) interested in that at all, or should I restrict my posts to original thoughts and writings and items of particular significance? (And we all know that means I only post about once a week…)
I’m finding myself using Twitter more often these days, doing status updates rather than longer blog posts… and since I also just share items I find on the web using google reader, I am not really posting cool web stuff I find, either. Most of the stuff I’ve been posting lately has either been exceptionally cool in some way (completely subjective of course) or stuff that isn’t itself an RSS feed, so I can’t share it with google…
Anyway, if you want to see my status updates, you’ll have to either get a Facebook account and friend me or follow me on Twitter (username: McDanger).
And if you want to see the stuff I’m sharing through google, you’ll either have to visit this site and look at the embedded shared items gadget I have (on the right) or get a google account and start using reader yourself (and add markdangerchen as a contact). The latter method is probably more in line with my personal practices… I mean I don’t really visit other people’s blogs or news sites anymore, I just read their feeds using my preferred app, and you should too!
Long story, short: this is my blog post that semi-apologizes for lack of updates.