A Sign of the Times


Have you ever seen a sign that you never thought that you’d see?  Never in a million years.

Those of us who have been going to computer technology conferences have grown up with the sophistication that we take for granted.  Can you remember the WOW when:

  • someone used a telephone line to connect to a computer elsewhere?
  • conference organizers hired local students and carts to help presenters wheel in their CPUs and monitors?
  • a presenter had an LCD tablet that laid on top of a data projector to show her/his computer screen in B&W?
  • with a loopback to their monitor so that they could see the presentation without turning around?
  • followup – next year it was in colour!
  • the conference organizers broke the bank to have email stations in the lobby?
  • a presenter could bring a laptop computer to the session room and set things up all by themselves?
  • there might be a few people in the audience with work laptops taking notes?

Of course, you can.

On this Sunday afternoon, I’m taking a look through the MACUL (Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning) conference program and bemoaning the fact that I won’t be driving to Grand Rapids for this year’s conference because of my Wednesday night class.  It looks like yet another great conference program.  It’s just so convenient when the conference is just a tunnel bus ride to Cobo Hall…

Then, I run into this.


2012 MACUL Conference Program

I’ve been on all sides of this. 

  • As a participant in the audience, I’m frustrated as all get out with little to no signal strength and then when you do get connected, little to no available bandwidth;
  • As a participant in the audience, you get excited that someone will take the time to Skype in to a presentation to add to the conversation only to pixelate and freeze when the show goes live;
  • As a presenter, I’ve been caught watching, watching, watching as the next little bit of data is squeezed out of mid-air into my computer (to the point where I seldom go live anymore…);
  • As a conference organizer, paying for extra bandwidth and getting promises from the host facility that they’ve got enough – you won’t have a problem.

I still remember my first experience with Live Streaming of a presentation.  It was "the coolest thing".  For a while there, you couldn’t go to a session where there wasn’t at least one person trying to share the session with the world.  Bandwidth, who cares about bandwidth!

Well, everyone who is at the conference, that’s who!  This is an area where education has clearly outgrown a facility’s ability to keep pace.  Their wireless networking demands on a day to day basis would pale to the needs when 4 000 educators all drop in with their laptops, smart phones, and other devices to put a demand on the networking.  After all, how many sessions do you think will talk about building personal learning networks, internet resources, online sharing, blogging, etc. and all the good things that make today’s connected innovator?

At this point in time, the best that you can do is what the folks at MACUL are attempting.  Make the connection available but ask for consideration of others.  I can’t wait until something better comes along and we can add something like this to the nostalgia list.

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OTR Links 03/05/2012


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.