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Some thoughts about Online Educa 08

December 10th, 2008 by Cristina Costa

The web is not just about providing information.

Is there any news here? No, indeed there isn’t. We have been arguing that the web as it stands today is about enabling the individual to create and collaborate, to construct and to publish. It is also about participating and being included. And again this is also nothing that new, but what happened last week on Online Educa Berlin 08 surely was.

Sounds of the Bazaar were there and that definitely made a difference in the way these events run. It was practically the only open chance people were offered to join Online Educa online. Sounds of the Bazaar featured two special shows from Berlin (1 and 2) , and that was really one of the highlights of this conference, as far as I am concerned. Sounds of the Bazaar attempted, and succeeded, to bridge between the physical venue and a virtual audience who was as interested in taking part in it as the ones who were lucky enough to be able to be there face to face. And in an event that focus especially on Online Education, it starts to be hard to understand why is it organized solely for a face to face audience.

One of the other interesting aspects I observed while in Berlin, is that twitter, and microblogging in general, is becoming more and more relevant in conferences, as a fast way to feedback one’s experiences and perspectives. It has also proved to be one of the most efficient unofficial channels of communication and blended networking, as it allowed a wider audience to have a peek at what was going on during those tow days. Of course, this does not happen out of the blue. It rather happens as the result of team effort, and community engagement. And that’s true magic. 🙂

As a last remark, I would just like to refer to my experience at the plenary session. It was my first time at Online Educa Berlin, and also the biggest conference I have ever taken part in. I am aware it’s difficult to accommodate so many people to attend keynote presentations. ‘The best way’ seems to be to seat people in rows, get the speaker a good microphone and provide high quality speakers, so everyone can listen to the person presenting. Hopefully attendants will concentrate…well, at least, it will keep them quiet. And if  we get a room big enough to squeeze a huge number of conference delegates, than there’s nothing like using a bit more of technology and broadcast a video inside the room, so the rows at the back can, at least, see the speaker…on the screen. Well, this solution is not bad, but I am not sure how different it was from the keynote videos I access on YouTube. And indeed, I had already seen Michael Wesch in youtube before. 🙂 And why wasn’t this broadcast live to a wider audience? Wouldn’t that been a good idea?

I sure would like to see people sharing their thoughts and experiences about participatory and social media while applying the same philosophy they are preaching, that is, to make their sessions more interactive and hence reaching out to their audience in a more personal way. In this sense, I think Sounds of Bazaar fully achieved its purpose. We broadcast two shows, we approached the people on the physical venue – they had a main participatory role in the show – and we also welcomed contributions from the ‘outside’, by simultaneously hosting a chat room, in which people were welcome to interact with other listeners and also share their thoughts and questions. Long are the days where of simple webcasts. This is the age of participation and distributed presence of the self independently of where we are. Technology makes it possible. But more importantly are the people. They have to want to create and keep the channels of communication and participation wide open.

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3 Responses to “Some thoughts about Online Educa 08”

  1. Using Twitter, blogs, podcasts, streaming radio and video, using back channels: that’s what I call “Technology enhanced conferencing”.

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  1. […] post was also posted here. addthis_url = ‘http%3A%2F%2Fknowmansland.com%2Flearningpath%2F%3Fp%3D240’; addthis_title […]

  2. […] about this expereince has been posted here. To access the recordings of the two live shows, please browse here and here.   « […]

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