NECC 2009 Day 2


Things didn’t slow down for Day 2 at the NECC Conference.  If anything, things got more hectic and spread into two cities.

The morning started with a debate around the idea that “Bricks and Mortar Schools are Detrimental to the Future of Education”.  Moderated by Robert Siegel from National Public Radio, three speakers in support of and three speakers against the concept very eloquently and passionately presented and defended their positions.  Special to the event were two secondary school students who got into the mix and put forth their positions very well.  The audience was polled before and after the event to ultimately determine the winner and the group that spoke against were determined to be the winner.  However, there was agreement that the status quo just won’t take education where it needs to go.  In an ever collaborative and connected world, education can’t remain inside the four walls of a classroom.

I had a nice conversation with Will Richardson about the state of things and the PLP Network cohort that is forming in Ontario.  It has exciting possibilities and I’m looking forward to seeing it take flight.

Then, things started to heat up.  In the next time slot, I wanted to attend three different sessions.  I managed to attend two – “Learning Adventures: Transforming Real and Virtual Learning Environments” and “Real World Applications for Web 2.0 in K-5 Classrooms”.  I left both sessions with my head spinning and thinking about what I can do with this inspiration.

A quick tour of the exhibit floor where I did get a chance to renew friendship with Deb Barrows and it was off to see Chris Dede’s session “Beyond High Stakes Tests: The Potential of Virtual Performance Assessments”.  Chris provided some interesting insights about NCLB and testing and provided some ideas for new high school design.

In my wanderings, I dropped by the local Ubuntu support group.  My netbook shipped with Ubuntu 8.04LTS and I was so curious to see if it would run 9.04 with all of the new Gnome enhancements.  I was also concerned that an upgrade might require more resources than the little guy could support.  I met a really need guy who just happened to have the 9.04 Netbook Remix on a memory key so we booted from the memory key and gave it a shot.  It connected to the flakey wireless at the convention centre and Cheese worked flawlessly.  So, I’ll be upgrading when I get a chance this summer.

More exhibit hall where I realize that I had missed both breakfast and lunch but supper was in the future so I kept on.  Of interest was a visit to the SMART Technologies booth to see the SMART Table and a plasma television display.  Financially out of reach but it’s interesting to see this innovating company on the move.

Finally, I wanted a chance to hear Gail Lovely speak and she was a spotlight speaker in one of the big ball rooms.  It was a great chance to affirm some of what I knew and pick up some new ideas from “Top 10 Web 2.0 Tools for K-3 Learning”.


Image by The Brit_2 via Flickr

Then, it was supper time.  What better than a ball park hot dog?  Fortunately, Paul Wood had sent out an invite to his Twitter friends to chip in for the price of a bus to go to Baltimore and see the Orioles play the Red Sox.  In true computer fashion, we signed up on a wiki to reserve a seat for the game.  It was great to join the group and I was impressed with Oriole Park at Camden Yards.  We also witnessed part of “the biggest comeback in Orioles history”.  They were down 9-1 before the rain delay — and ended up winning 11-10.  We also got to see rush hour in Washington first hand.

An exhausting Day 2 of the NECC complete, the conference wraps up today.

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