Sue Waters Blog

Connecting at NECC!

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Did I ever imagine that one day I would be sitting at a desk in USA writing a blog post?  NOPE!

Yet, according to Google Maps, I’m currently about 14, 816 miles from my home (Perth, Western Australia).  Fortunately I didn’t follow Google Maps directions and kayak across Pacific Ocean from Australia through Japan to get here!

Purpose of my trip was to attend NECC 2009 (one of the World’s largest conferences for Ed Tech professionals).  This year over 18,000 people attended. Those following The Edublogger’s USA Adventure… to NECC and Beyond! have been asking me what the conference was like so here goes!

The Sessions

Many of my Australian friends would love to know how the NECC sessions compared to Australian conferences.  Unfortunately this is where I go sorry!  I only attended two sessions, both of which were keynotes, neither did anything for me.

There were several reasons why I didn’t attend sessions. I was representing Edublogs at NECC; I knew I could watch recordings of NECC sessions and read blog post reviews later.But most importantly, a fact that people don’t appreciate, is I’m quite isolated living in Perth (costly 5 hour flight to most conferences just in Australia).

I don’t have many opportunities to meet and network with others f2f.  NECC may have been my one opportunity to ever meet a people who I network with online f2f as there is no guarantee I will ever get a chance to visit USA again.  Creating stronger connections with people, by interacting f2f, in my view long term provides greater opportunity for learning than any session you can attend.

Biggest NECC Takeaways by Others

Looking for reflections by others?  Check out survey results of other people’s biggest takeaways from NECC09.  Or if you attended NECC, either in person or virtually, add your own reflections using this form.

Thanks to Alice Barr for creating this document which I will use to guide my viewing of NECC session recordings!

What I did At NECC

Most of my time at NECC was spent at:

  1. Bloggers Cafe (a casual space set up for people to connect with each other)
  2. and NECC unplugged (NECC’s unconference area where any one who wants can present to both f2f and virtual global participants).

I really enjoyed presenting at NECC Unplugged and plan to follow up with a later post on it.

Majority of my time was spent networking with others. Too many people, and too many stories to mention, but the slideshow below contains photos of most those I met.  Definitely existing connections through blogging and twitter enhanced these f2f interactions.

The Edublogger Shirt

For those unaware I has a shirt custom made for me by Paul Morris (CheekyTeez in Perth) with design input from Gary Barber.

The idea of the shirt was to fit with the beginners series I faciliate for Classroom 2.0 and followed the same theme of badges we organised for NECC.

In a crazy Sue moment I decided to use one of the shirts as a sovenior by getting people I meet at NECC to sign the shirt.  I’m hoping now poor Paul (or anyone) can figure out how I might frame it to keep as the souvenior.

Here is a photo of my favorite blogger signing my shirt!

The Slideshow below has a closeup of all the different signatures.

The Exhibitor Hall

WOW!  What can I say about the Exhibitor hall?  It was massive!

Felt like the size of a football oval and had to be seen to believed.

Lots of NECC posts were critical of the exhibitors hall however I think Alfred Thompson’s Sponges and Participants post is a reminder to Edubloggers about the needs of different types of conference participants.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Thanks to everyone that I meet at NECC!  I enjoyed every second (except for all my misadventures on US air planes).  I will follow up later with some USA reflections in later posts.

Extra special thanks to James Farmer for giving me the opportunity to attend NECC!

  1. For those that attended NECC — would love to hear about what aspects you enjoyed the most?
  2. For those who attended NECC unplugged through Elluminate – what was it like?  What was the best aspects? The most challenging aspects?

Feel free to also any questions about what USA is like to an Australian :)

Badge image by Greatnews licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike

Author: Sue Waters

Edublogs Support Manager @suewaters on Twitter

6 Comments

  1. Sue,
    Despite your flight stress, I hope this is not your last time in the states. Trust me! The US teachers need your advice! I loved hearing about your adventures and can’t wait to meet f2f myself. My friend moves to Australia next year and I am already planning to crash at her house when you do a workshop/ convention. Can’t wait to hear more!
    Shelly

    • Hi Shelly, yes I hope it is not my last time in USA. My youngest son dreams of visiting USA and I did say I would try for next year. But it is a really expensive holiday so will have to see.

      The good news is that from this trip I now feel totally comfortable with the idea of traveling around here.

      Re-catching up with educators again in USA we will have to see… Unfortunately your friend will probably live on the East coast of Australia. I rarely get across there to go to conferences. It is a 5 hour flight and if I don’t book in advance it costs $600-700.

      But you are welcome to visit me in Perth!

  2. Sue, it sounds like you had the trip of a lifetime. I enjoyed follwing your tweets especially as you notice the small things in life like the difference in the taste of Coke! I liked the photo op you had with the OpenPD crew – so you could say that this was one of the best perks you could have working for Edublogs. Maybe as NECC will become ISTE from next year there is a chance it could be hosted down under one year and the North Americans will have make the pilgrimage.

    • Yes it has been a memorable trip and I would love to return as a tourist with my family to visit sights.

      Darren, Kelly, Robin and I have all been really great friends now for several years. I first started networking with Darren not long after he made Pay Attention (probably similar time to when you started interacting with him). When they ran Open PD I used to get up early in the morning to attend. So I really enjoyed sitting next to them during the two keynotes I attended.

      I personally think Americans will struggle with the concept of hosting it outside USA. Will be interesting to see if it happens.

      I also think they don’t realise that their presentations at the conference are probably very USA centric. Perhaps I’m wrong but I think people who live outside USA think more about whether we are being too locally focused compared to Americans. I know when I write posts about use of images in blog posts I get challenged by USA educators for not discussing Fair use laws — because they don’t appreciate that the law mainly applies to USA.

  3. Hi Sue: It was a pleasure to meet you at NECC. Hope you had fun on the rest of your trip.

    Thanks for linking to my post. I hope people continue to feel free to add to the spreadsheet. It’s been fun to see what everyone is learning!

    • Hi Alice, it was also lovely to meet you. I have had an excellent time on the trip. No problem linking to your blog post and I hope others fill it in. I hope to have more time when I get home to read through all the comments and use them to work out which sessions to watch.

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