Introducing the ChatCast
Whenever you assemble creative and talented people together, good things generally happen, and this was the case at NECC. EdubloggerCon was a huge success, and so was the Blogger Café, with people strengthening and intensifying relationships through face to face discussion.
An interesting, and serendipitous, strategy for learning in the conference presentations occurred, which I am calling a ChatCast. Basically, a group of people attending a session chat (we used Skype) during the session about the topics being presented, and in effect, create a small learning network within the presentation room itself. People can agree or disagree on what is being said, send links to each other, and generally learn from each other. The process turns a passive “set and get” experience into a dynamic, active experience, potentially more powerful than just sitting isolated, and silent. Instead of learning from one, I can learn from all involved. Overall, it's invigorating.
After the session, the transcript of the chat can be posted as a blog post-that’s the ChatCast.
Here is the first example, posted on Jeff Utecht’s blog, The Thinking Stick. It involves myself, Jeff, Vinny Vrotney, Brian Crosby, and Brian Grenier and was done during Tim Magner’s presentation entitled New Schools, New Tools: Starting the Conversation about School 2.0. (NECC tag = n07s624)
The second example involves more participants and was done during Will Richardson’s spotlight session, From Hand It In to Publish It: Re-Envisioning our Classrooms (NECC tag = n07s584) and again was published here on The Thinking Stick. This chatcast was a little different, because Clarence Fisher and Dean Shareski, who were not in attendance in
[8:04:19 AM] Dean Shareski says: I left my machine on, drove across town, logged back in to see I’m in the middle of a live chat session at NECC….when will it stop!
So here is a session, being led by a great presenter, with equally talented people in the audience, and some not in the audience (at least not physically, what does this do to the concept of audience?), all interacting and responding to each other, and in the process, amplifying the experience.
And then it gets posted for all to read and comment on. From Jeff Utecht, commenting at the end of the presentation:
[8:33:45 AM] Jeff Utecht says: Thanks everyone up on the thinkingstick.com in a few minutes.
A few minutes…anyone, anywhere can read it in a few minutes. Cool.
So I’m interested to see how this evolves and spreads to other learning venues. Comments on both posts at The Thinking Stick address using something like this in a classroom. I’ll be interested to see if other conferences pick this up (you have to have ubiquitous wireless, something not always available) and to some extent formalize it like NECC has formalized blogging as part of the conference. Perhaps they should have a chatcaster backchannel as well. I'm wondering how Skype could be used to let people listen in on presentations, and whether video could be involved as well.
tags: necc necc07 chatcast