Last year was a banner year for my conference attendance; on top of the always fun Northern Voice, I was able to attend the (not so fun, for me) IMS Alt-i-lab sessions in Vancouver, the mind opening Open Education convergence in Logan, Utah, the WCET conference in Atlanta, SREB’s Online Learning Task Group Meetings (again, back to Atlanta), and closer to home, the BC Ed Tech User’s Group session in Kamloops and Camosun College’s Distributed Education days.
As enjoyable as many of the programs were, the highlight is always the people, the hallway and barroom conversations where new ideas are spawned, plots hatched and connections made. Indeed, this year’s crop was spectacular in this regard; as much as I am in almost daily contact with my online network, the opportunity to see Chris Lott and Jim Groom twice in one year, and Brian and D’Arcy more times than was seemly was a great boon to my thinking, growth and personal well being.
I typically canvas my network of close friends and edublogger buddies about what events they are thinking about attending, as I know this will factor into my own planning. But this got me wondering (which I did aloud on Twitter) if there wasn’t a better “web 2.0” way to find out this information, especially a way that would allow me connect with people who I read and am interested in but don’t already have strong ties with.
As usual, Twitter yielded at least one good suggestion, upcoming.org, a site purpose-built for this. So I dutifully reactivated my account there, but I have some concerns. Not uncommon with any social software, the big one is “who else is there.” As much as I want to connect with new folks, the whole exercise began in an effort to more easily (less intrusively) find out where people I already know and like to talk to are going. The second issue is the lack of uptake of upcoming.org, epsecially amongst the educational technology conferences. A number of biggies weren’t in there (before I added them, a feature I quite like) which makes me suspicious of how useful it will be.
So, my question for you to start off 2008: where are you telling people (and how can I best find out) what physical meetings you are planning on attending in 2008? upcoming.org? Your blog? Facebook?
For myself, I will endeavor to use upcoming.org for now (cf. http://upcoming.yahoo.com/syndicate/v2/my_events/201841), but I am absolutely willing to be convinced of the merits of some other method. – SWL