How can web 2.0 technologies be most effectively leveraged to maximize interaction and participant benefit prior to, during, and after an educational conference? Thoughts that come to my mind on this question are:

  1. Sharing links and resources. (social bookmarking with a common tag could help.)
  2. Identifying issues and concerns via a blog.
  3. Sharing actual session content via blog posted notes and session podcasts, if presenters give permission. (This was done pretty effectively at WebZine2005 last year.)
  4. Helping network like-minded souls interested in similar issues.
  5. Sharing emerging areas of research or needed areas of research that relate to common topics.

I know a conference wiki could be used also, like it was at PodcasterCon2006 a few weeks ago, but I am not sure how it would be used in a functionally distinct way compared to a blog.

I explored these issues a bit in a podcast in early December. What do you think?

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2 Responses to Web 2.0 and conferences

  1. David Jakes says:

    Wes: I think that the addition of Web 2.0 tools to the conference experience is absolutely critical, although in its infancy. I believe the use of these tools will become more effective when more are comfortable with the technology. I would love to see an introductory session at conferences that help people understand these tools to continue the conference experience, structured along the lines of the power of collaboration to move forward. Everyone goes through the session. I’ve been at conferences where they say they have a wiki for group collaboration and half the audience doesn’t know what that means, or is intimidated by the interface.

    Additionally, I think that regular dates should be established at the conference for new questions to be posted by a moderator, of, let’s say a conference wiki. It is obvious that the energy established by the conference is very fleeting-the Podcastercon wiki was last updated on January 7th. So, during the conference, lets establish a list of questions, publication dates, and then send out reminders, etc. to revisit.

    We used a wiki to support and extend staff development this past summer in my school district. Very effective during-we posed 5 questions, each group got ten minutes with a question, the question rotated to the next group, and they had a chance to add and edit content. In that manner, the resultant answers to those 5 questions were a mashup of everyones thoughts and ideas, and greatly enhanced the collaborative process.

    However, no one has added anything since late July. How do we keep the thoughts and energy flowing, in a hectic school year?

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    I was talking about this very thing with Dr. Glen Bull of the University of Virginia earlier this week. The issue is extending the conversation. I think Jay Rosen had it right in his session at Bloggercon3 when he observed that blogging needs to be integrated into people’s daily routines and schedules. The same is true for technology integration more broadly. Otherwise, it is an “add on” that people quickly find they don’t have time for. So I think the outcome we want (maybe not for everyone, but certainly for more people) is that they blog every day, as part of what they do… part of their routine. Otherwise I don’t think people will re-engage in the conversation like we hope they will following a conference.

    Creating communities and giving people a reason to return is also important. I am fortunate to be part of Apple’s ADE community, and because of face to face relationships which were established and are reinforced at periodic events, as well as other opportunities that are advertised via the ADE community, there is a strong impetus for people to return and re-engage in conversation there.

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