Last week I attended the ED-MEDIA conference in Honolulu, the highly productive conference sponsored by the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). I had attended in 2007 in Vancouver and knew it would be great. I took notes on all the sessions and the many things I’ve learned, so much that it would make this post WAY too long! So you can read my full report if you wish — I will be later developing some of the ideas into individual posts.
It was most exciting to meet some of the people I only know from online, including George Siemens, Stephen Downes, Kristina Hoeppner, and Alan Levine. Plus I gained great respect for the work and delightful conversation of Nancy White and Tony Hirst. The beautiful setting was an enhancement rather than a distraction, and our mile-plus walk to dinner one night while talking teaching, technology, and more was a highlight of my time there.
My first technology-related experience, however, was on the plane getting here from San Diego. The flight was 5 1/2 hours, and during that time total strangers sat next to each other without ever introducing themselves, sharing adjacent space. Gradually I noticed some children giggling nearby. I looked over and they were, I thought, playing Nintendo. But when I peeked, I saw that they were writing on the screen, and I soon realized that many children on the plane had Nintendos and were using its wi-fi pictochat feature to write to each other. After an hour or so, children were exchanging information about their seat locations, and were getting up and saying hi. At one point there were kids standing in the aisle and the flight attendant had to ask them to sit down so she could serve food. By the time they had to shut off their devices for landing, they knew where everyone was staying in Hawaii and had arranged playdates if their hotels were near each other, forcing the parents to actually meet each other. The kids used technology to create society on the plane, where adults only endured the enforced company of others.