Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Educause Learning Initiative Conference Day 1

This is going to be a short post, since it’s about bedtime (9:30) and also because I can’t access the internet in my room. All conference guests are supposed to have free internet access in their rooms, but this is the third hotel room they’ve put me in (the first room I arrived at had someone’s stuff – clothes, food, power cords) in it, and the second smelled like smoke despite my request for a non-smoking room, and I was also unable to get on the network there)…and I decided that the view on the 14th floor is pretty amazing. The phone/wake-up call system also isn’t working. Hmm…

Just a few hours into the conference and already I’m learning and networking – it’s been great thus far! It’s been fascinating to talk to people in the instructional technology field and find out how they got there – no two have the same, or similar, stories. I ran into Lisa Andion (Instructional Support Manager at George Mason University) in the elevator – despite the fact that we are at the same institution, I only had to look at her nametag to figure out who she was. Julie Evans, who spoke at the very first session “K-12 Students Speak Up About Technology and Learning: Are We Listening?”, presented some very fascinating statistics to the audience (she later said she was going to be in northern VA Thursday of this week surveying a high school through her New Learning Project). She revealed some things which were pretty shocking (or at least insightful):
*80% of kids between 6th and 12th grade have a cell phone
*65% of kids between kindergarten and 12th grade are gaming, girls just as much as boys
*35% of kids between 6th and 12th grade are interested in taking an online class
*9% of high school kids have a BlackBerry or smartphone

(It’s beyond me why a high school kid would ever need a BlackBerry - when I had mine, it was delightful to silence it after the workday was over.)

She also brought up the subject of online social networking (which, I had several interesting discussions today about the fact that No, I do not think that Facebook or MySpace will ever have academic value) and mentioned that 20% of 3rd through 5th graders have online “friends” they have never met.


What ever happened to Barbies and trips to the neighborhood playground?

Kidding aside, I know that technology’s integration with the children’s world is only going to increase, and I really do see this positively affecting the digital revolution.

I could talk lots more about this session, but there are two more sessions I need to talk about. More on those to come tomorrow.

Also, I discovered that all of the sessions will be podcast(ed?), so since humans don’t yet have the capability to simultaneously appear in and take in material from more than one location, I can listen to what I’m missing on the plane ride back. Cool.

On a side note, I navigated to blogger.com to begin blogging about ELI, and was a bit startled to receive the option of "sign in to use blogger: but first, where do you blog? New blogger: using your Google account..." It's great (and quite convenient) that the different online technologies I use are being integrated, but is everything online that requires an account sign-up being google-fied? Yes, it is possible for great tech ideas to come out of somewhere besides Google. But then Google just buys them up. Hmm, maybe that is how I can make my millions…


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