Why We Should Ensure Our Global Audience Can “Be There” At Conferences

simonYes I know Mlearn 2007 conference was sooooo last week (I’m now at WA E-Learning Conference) but I have to share the story of people like Simon Brown, from my network, who did not attend the conference, but felt a sense of “being there” through the blog posts, flickr photos, twitter, Skype, wiki sites and live Elluminate sessions.

People like Simon are the exact reason why we need to ensure, wherever practically possible, that conferences do provide:

  • services for people unable to attend to be able to participate virtually through live broadcasts of sessions using virtual classroom tools like Elluminate
  • free wireless access for participants so they can maintain contact with their networks and live blog if they choose
  • a site that brings together all the information about the conference that is being uploaded to the Internet as it is happening (such as the blog posts, twittering, photos).

If our desired goal of conferences is to inspire changes in work practices catering for our global virtual audience will ensure inspiration is spread beyond the walls of the conference. Through this live interaction with mLearn 2007 Simon now wants to incorporate mlearning into his program.

Simon teaches stonemasonry trade skills to apprentices at SkillsTech Australia in Brisbane (Queensland). He tapped into all the live Elluminate sessions and we skyped plus twittered to each other all day, every day.

While he enjoyed all the Elluminate session I was totally blown away by his response to Marcus Ragus, Sam Meredeth, Daniel Dacey and Ian Whitehouse presentation on Embedded technologies (in particular RFID technology). So while I was relaxing after a busy few days of attending the conference Simon was busy investigating RFID technology and trying to work out how he could get his hands on it.

Finally in frustration, after several hours, he skyped me to ask if I could give him more details. Fortunately I sitting on the lounge area at the conference (was tooooo tired to move) so I told him to ring me using Skype and I grabbed Daniel Dacey (New England Computer Solutions) who was able to answer all his questions.

When I asked him why RFID technologies was the one that inspired him the most he said “while I enjoyed the other sessions I could not see practical applications whereas I could see immediate application of RFID in my teaching area”. As a result Simon is interested in purchasing a single handheld unit, and tags & software for a pilot study in the Eagle Farm stonemasonry workshop for:

  • building-site induction
  • training workshop for triggering learning content on the subject of safe of tools, equipment & machinery operation , and assisting with demonstrating practical skills.

His idea is to use the RFID technology for blended delivery within his workshops, giving students choices about when and where they learn. Check out this post to learn what RFID technology is about and why Simon was excite. Contact Daniel Dacey to find out more about the RFID learning table.

7 thoughts on “Why We Should Ensure Our Global Audience Can “Be There” At Conferences

  1. Having a site that can being all the feeds together (tagged blogs, flickr), with peoples open twitter feeds, and other RSS driven media can be a major plus for a conference. especially when you figure in RSS feeds of Video and Slides (slideshare). All you need then is a little social networking glue. Course you have to have Wifi operational (all the time) But this can be a massive interactive information source. This was done a Web Directions.

    Gary Barber Reply

  2. I thought that these practices that Wes Fryer shared from the K-12 Online conference were outstanding and something we should sharing with people as a way to begin this kind of information out to everyone in a coherent helpful fashion, along with all of the other live stuff that goes on.

    Michele Martin Reply

  3. Gary – How did you do it differently for web directions as opposed to how I did it on my wiki? i.e. was there a more efficient way of doing it than how I did it?

    Michele – my brain is still feeling scrambled after this 3 weeks. The link you gave is on reflection by a person is the link correct?

    Sue Waters Reply

  4. Why were you “totally blown away”. Simon’s response was fantastic, but not the only one to the use of rfid and Learning Table?

    rfid Learning Table is now in every state and territory with the exception of ACT. Any takers for the first in the ACT? 🙂

    Dan

    Daniel Dacey Reply

  5. I was blown away by his response because while I was sitting at the end of the conference – trying to get some energy back to pack away my gear he contacted me via Skype (using the wireless access of the conferences) and was able to discuss with you (Daniel) how to get hold of the Learning Table. Simon stayed connected with me throughout the conference using Skype, Twitter and by reading the information that people were sending out plus attending the Elluminate sessions. Which is really cool that people who don’t attend a conference can tap into the program and then access the information they require to obtain the resources they need.

    I should also add that Simon is forever blowing me away with his enthusiasm to his work.

    Congratulations Daniel on the success of your learning table. Simon has been updating me on his progress and how easy he is finding it to use. Once he starts using it on site he is going to let me know how it is going with his students.

    Sue Waters Reply

  6. Thanks Sue. 🙂 Learning Table is successful with the help and enthusiasm of people like Simon, which we are very grateful for the support.

    Recently we have started to explore the possibilities of using LT for people with physical and intellectual disabilities and certainly looks like it will be a very rewarding use of the technology for the future. This application of the technology obviously has use in all sectors of education.

    In the meantime early feedback from users is they want to see quizzes, so they are up next for rfid Learning Table and I hope to share some of the experiences of developing that new feature set and what is involved on my blog (www.mobilemainframe.com). Yes that was a blatant plug. 🙂

    Hopefully it will prove an interesting and helpful insight for folks who would like to know a bit about how the software they use comes into being.

    Daniel Dacey Reply

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