Saturday, March 14, 2009

ASCD: From Pen and Paper to Wireless

I'm spending the weekend at ASCD in Orlando and already I've noticed a difference in the conference and in myself as a conference attendee. First, the wireless, free and reliable. Compared to NCTE's conference in San Antonio, the wireless here is an awesome amenity. This is the first ever ASCD wireless conference, complete with live streaming of general sessions. In addition, ASCD has added a Technology Corridor which I'm excited to explore later. Sitting in my last session, I was tickled to discover that a few of the folks I follow on Twitter are here. Incredible the network bloom.

As an attendee I have certainly changed. Over the past 18 months, I've noticed how web 2.0 tools have affected how I process information. I used to journal every conference--black sketch books, colored pencils and sharpies my primary tools. I took notes. I drew. I illustrated. I color coded. I connected--but only to my own ideas, only to my own background knowledge. I have shelves and shelves of big black sketch bookes whose spines record years and conferences.

Now I use my laptop. Taking notes on Google docs instead of merely journaling. While I'm taking notes, I can tweet, check in on tweets labeled by the conference hashtag. I can go immediately to websites presenters mention like Pieces of Learning from this morning's session on flexible grouping. Wireless lets me look up and tag research cited, so that I can read it later. The richness digital tools brings to my experience as an attendee is hard to describe.

I'm stuck to a plug at the moment, one side effect of my new reliance on digital tools. I'm sitting on the floor at the back of the general session which is just about to begin! But I'm wondering how digital tools have changed your behaviors at a conference? What do you notice about your own learning in the connected space of the wide and wonderful web?

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