Monday, 25 June 2007

Wish I was in Atlanta!

Through my blog surfing I learned about the talk of the week (or perhaps the last few months?) among bloggers in America - NECC 2007 (National Educational Computing Conference). Seems like all the blogosphere is there sharing ideas and learning from each other face2face for a change. The next quote from Julie Lindsay’s blog brought back some fond memories from 4 years ago:
However, right now it is grass roots and it is exciting to be part
of it and
to meet up with so many colleagues who I have only seen virtually for many
months. I was thrilled to meet
Vicki Davis and it was a natural
transition from being online together to actually talking and sharing face to
It was back in 2003 when I first met my dear Japanese net colleague f2f, at an AEC conference in Bogor, Indonesia. After finding each other through EPALS in 2000, we had been working on small virtual exchanges between our EFL groups before finally having the chance to meet. My feelings were the same as described above - it was
uncanny how natural that first meeting was after a few years of online sharing and collaboration. Akira, if you ever read this, thank you for all these years of special friendship.

Back from memory lane to NECC… Looking at the photos, in most everybody’s got their laptop in front of them, as if it was another limb. Funny, but a must at a computing conference, I know. (Maybe it’s just as well I’m not there fumbling away with mine…) I must say, looks like real
multitasking - taking part in intelligent discussions while all the time keeping blog readers updated about what’s being said - almost in real time. WOW!

The most interesting weekend session for me would have been Global Connections and Flat Classroom Ideals in a Web 2.0 World, definitely. International school projects is what I’ve been doing for almost 10 years now, so right up my street. I’ve been reading both Vicki’s and Julie’s blogs for some time now, and I am really interested to learn more about their Flat Classroom
. I am still going through the extensive project Wiki, and keep finding marvellous evidence of student interaction and true collaboration there. The fact that I am totally new to Wikis is giving my some trouble with navigating, but as I’m very much a hands-on, trial-and-error-type learner, I’ll work my way through it - and hopefully become a lot wiser about the use of Wikis in the process.

It was good to read the following in Vicki’s blog:
There is a lot of interest in multicultural collaboration. It was exciting to
see the vision that others have for what needs to happen. The desire is there,
the willingness is there and there are some organizations that are doing it. We
need to be looking at multicultural components as standard parts of all courses
appropriate. What opportunities we have with this one but it is going to
need to
be much wider scale than it is now. Julie and I are talking about
standards for
international projects and the group gave us
some great
feedback on this
I’ll be following the creation of the standards, as I feel something like that is imperative for the success of any inter- or multicultural project. In the course of my EU and Asian projects, I have learned that the results will be disappointing if project leaders in the participating countries follow their own preconceived agendas, without realizing the importance of negotiating and collaborating towards a joint goal all along. Naturally, these negotiations become a lot more challenging when many (if not most!) of the teacher and student partners don’t share the same language. All in all, the little I could follow this weekend convinced me more and more that Web 2.0 tools will enhance the work in my future intercultural projects. I’m getting quite excited about trying something new next year.

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