Thursday, July 05, 2012

ISTE12 Reflections, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

I'm thinking if I don't start this now I never will. Back at MNPS Virtual School the ante is raised, registration continues for the fall, and policy and procedure continue to be written and formalized. We are one less team member, for reasons I do not fully understand but must respect. On the edges of my professional life, but moving in and out of primary focus, are the development of a professional development plan for ISTE SIGOL and ongoing growth and activity in SIGVE. We also have a new puppy in the house, which is like having a new baby in many ways, and my lovely honey is starting up a business which is evermore busy.

It's never boring.

A benefit of passage of time is hopefully that my reflections will be a little less wordy. We shall see.

So, where were we? Oh, yeah, the alarm waking me up with its classic modem-dialing sound on Monday morning. Down to the hotel fitness room for a half hour of stationary biking, up, shower, and off to a busy day. No breakfast, straight to the Virtual Environments Playground by 7 a.m. (We did catch some muffins leftover from the SIGOL annual meeting.)

On the way in, I had to laugh at the direct sunlight on the Smart Board display unit:
The light in that fabulous convention center lobby made the room a welcoming place to spend time. It also, unfortunately, rendered the Smart Boards useless for display--even when the sun was not directly on them. Just too many lumens washing out too few lumens. Even the much smaller and much brighter LED displays struggled, as you will see, though I deemed ours "GE" "good enough."

Another early bird old friend came through first thing, enabling me to snag my annual David Warlick "my-space-like" photo (I  laugh at the squinty eyes:):
I'm laughing at our squinting eyes and I hope Dave is too :)
Andy arrived and we got to work, moving every available chair over to the LED area, setting up my old workhorse Dell XPS with the Microsoft Lifecam to support the ustream delivery into the internetz and into Second Life. This is an important aspect of what we do each year--share our presentations with others around the globe who are not able to be at the conference physically.Gridjumper (Tanya Smedly) was our Grand Poobah in Second Life, and a new member named Bluebarker created a diner on the fly with a copy of the display object I had already placed in our Second Life headquarters, and off and on during the day attendees from Australia, the U.S., and other countries as diverse as Norway and Italy attended our sessions. I am not planning to describe each session in detail here, but here's the schedule for the day:

Gonna make you scroll there to save some webpage real estate.

And here's a snap from within Second Life, featuring me in the "mirror" and also sitting in the red shirt in SL:

The day went just marvelously, despite the tech challenges inherent in delivering our little "hall of mirrors" to the world. We ended the Playground, which in previous years has run the full three days of the conference and this year was only offered this one day, with Lucas Gillespie engaging in a lively Skype discussion from North Carolina, adding yet another mirror to our hall. His image an voice came out of the LED display from the Skype connection on an iPad, while the laptop and webcam streamed the event to ustream and into Second Life, where attendees there could also ask questions through that chat inteface. All in a day's work.
Lucas Skypes in re WOW and Minecraft
I will say that despite our frantic ongoing triage we had an excellent day, with crowds often standing room only. The only session that failed was my own, since we simply could not get the sound from SL to work in time. Not even that was a complete failure, though, as my guest co-presenter from Israel, Ilan Tochner, shared about Kitely, is innovative virtual world platform, to those in Second life while I fumbled around with cables in San Diego.

I missed much of the actual presentations, running around as I was ensuring things went well enough. I also had to peel out to attend the SIGOL annual meeting, since my election to the Professional Development Chair of that SIG this year commits me to work there as well.

That was at 8:30 across the Convention Center, and it went very well, I think. Mike Gorman, incoming SIG Chair, will be a good partner for me as we plumb the depths of our membership to develop and deliver learning experiences for our members. We'll be talking this week to map out our plan for the year.

Here's a pic from that event:

After Lucas was done, we were done, though our space continued its utility in a "Birds of a Feather" session on Minecraft. Finally, at 5:30, we had our SIG annual gathering, where Bob Vojtek was ceremoniously installed as our Lowly High Grand Poobah for 2012-13, with Kae Novak the shadowing Grand Poobah gearing toward ascension the following year. That's the way we roll. Andrew Wheelock, ascended to the throne of Lowly High Grand Poobah Emeritus, sitting along side Lisa Linn and myself throughout the ages and into posterity. I'm getting all grand here, but that kind of mysterious ceremony, made up ad hoc as we progress, is part of what makes our SIG stand out from others. It's how we roll.

Monday night snuck up on us then, and after the traditional group photo session capping off our meeting I hit the streets for a dinner with Canadian Gordon Holden at the Brew House, a local brewery. Very nice. Then off to the Google Party, an invited get-together of a thousand or so of my closest friends. Not. I was good for one beer and off "home" to bed. Yes. I am old. And the throngs of young educators enjoying the free beverages while not depresssing me did certainly put me in my place. It is a good place.
I had intended to get through Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in this post, written as it has been whilst exercising on my recumbent bicycle, with the help of my new laptop rack. Watch out world--I may just be a little more productive now. And a little more exercised.

More soon as I reflect on Tuesday and Wednesday. I've already shared the best Keynote ever (Tuesday's Yong Zhao) so maybe I can even wrap it up next post! Cross your virtual fingers!

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