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I’m in San Francisco right now attending the Sloan-C Conference on Emerging Technologies. Today was the pre-conference session day and I was lucky enough to present during a workshop as part of a team discussing the use of Web 2.0 technologies and Cloud Computing for Student Services. I was asked to be part of the group by a man from the University of Illinois who presented at the Sloan conference last fall in Orlando.
I really like workshop sessions because it seems to be much more about the discussions than about providing content and today’s session was no exception. I was fortunate enough to meet several new people who all had fantastic questions, input, and experiences that they shared. The other members of the presentation team discussed how they’re using wikis and google apps in their library, and how they’re using jing for screen captures and videos. I presented about how World Campus is using Facebook, twitter, Second Life, etc to build community and strengthen relationships between the university and all of our online students. Lots of great questions were asked and fantastic discussion occured. Sometimes it just takes someone giving you an example or talking about things from a different perspective for those doors to open up and then you begin to see opportunities you might not have considered before.
Huge thanks to everyone for participating and attending the session. I look forward to the sessions to come and I’m really glad to be here in such a wonderful city!
Ever since I made the decision to only post work-related things on this blog, I find myself rarely using this blog at all. It’s certainly not that I’ve stopped working, but I think that when I’m feeling creative and in the mood to blog, I want to blog about things that are informal or personal and so they don’t end up here. Not sure that’s a great thing, but that’s where it stands for now.
This past Friday we had a work retreat. Most work retreats I’ve been on through the years have basically consisted of going to an outside location – typically a conference room or meeting location, and we’ve spent the day working on a specific project or focused on a specific goal. This past Friday, however, I was lucky enough to attend a retreat that truly felt like a retreat – at the O’an Zendo Center here in Julian, Pennsylvania. The O’an Zendo center is “devoted to the practice and teaching of Zen Buddhism” and it was a day to renew ourselves and our spirits and really take time to relax, refocus, and slow down. I think our entire team needed this retreat more than we’ve needed a lot of things lately, and I am so thankful that I had an entire day to spend there.
We spent the day relaxing, learning about each other in ways that some might think are odd (touching each others hands, walking around each other in a large room with hardwood floors and huge windows with a view of the trees outside), and really looking at ourselves. It was such a rare experience to have one day where you were told to do what you needed to do (including taking a nap if you felt you needed to) because that’s what your body needed. We had no technology, no pressures, no multi-tasking of things demanding our attention – just deep breaths, relaxation, and an awareness that we are all part of a bigger picture. It was a really moving experience for several team members, including myself, and I find myself attempting to meditate now, even if it’s just for a few minutes to bring myself back to center and regain perspectives and focus.
I am so grateful to have spent the day learning about buddhism and meditation and even more thankful to have been able to learn those things as part of my work.
Yesterday was the TLT Symposium at Penn State and I was lucky enough to attend and be on the program committee this year. The symposium is always wonderful and this year the speakers were David Wiley and danah boyd – both fantastic. It’s so energizing to hear people speak about things that you’re passionate about and watching people becoming excited, getting ideas, and learning from each other is so inspiring. I had two ‘favorite moments’ from the day. My favorite thing yesterday was listening to danah boyd talk about social networks and then getting to meet her afterward. My second favorite moment was hearing an older professor stand up in a session about ‘friending’ on Facebook between instructors and students and talk about how important it is to him to have those personal connections with his students.
photo by colecamplese
TLT Symposium was a wonderful event, as always. Huge thanks to everyone that worked so hard to pull it all together.
The TLT Symposium is coming up at Penn State and this year’s theme is ‘reimagine’. As we think about education and how things have changed in teaching and learning with technology, we start to reimagine the concepts of teacher/student and what exactly a ‘typical’ classroom is these days.
Leading up to the symposium, we recorded a podcast talking about our theme, the event, and the excitement that’s building.