Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You Have to Laugh...

So we're all sitting at the opening session, which was supposed to be linked to a video-conference with students from a school somewhere. At the same time we were listening to the un-keynote speaker, he had us log into the conference chat, where we were told to discuss different topics. Multi-tasking overload! And of course the conference link wasn't working, so we couldn't hear what anyone was saying; half the people couldn't log in to the chat. The rest of us were so focused on the chatting, we ignored the speaker.

A perfect lesson in "just because you can (or, in this case, can't!) doesn't mean you should." The chat was really a gratuitous use of technology--we were sitting right next to the people...why would we chat?? Face-to-face would have worked better and been more meaningful.

It also had me wondering about students who "multi-task" during class. While they're so-called "digital natives," all the studies show that multi-tasking actually decreases performance level, so at what point do we insist they slow down and mono-task? Or is that concept all but defunct in the world to come?

The video-conference debacle was a problem with the resort--it was built 150 years ago or so, is wired for Web.05, and we were trying to run Web 2.0 technology. So I definitely felt for the poor speaker, who was having the technology nightmare we all dread. But we also need to be careful. If this had happened with non-tech savvy teachers, they would have walked out in 15 minutes, or used it to reinforce their technophobia.

I'm now sitting in a Drupal session. Everyone else is more au fait than, I, however. I'm interesting in using it to develop the new library site--Joomla was a disaster this summer!--I need something more basic than this, though. Not off to a booming start; some interesting sessions coming up, so my hopes are high!

And you can't complain about the setting at all. These photos were taken off the balcony of the session room.

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