Monday, June 30, 2008

371.3 NECC08: Sunday Evening Opening Session

Theme of NECC -- Convene - Connect - Transform
The size--12,000+ in attendance! (the largest TLA conference has been 8,000)
50 countries represented...I have talked with folks from Australia, Scotland, England, and Japan that I know for sure!

I briefly talked about connecting with others (in another post) because of my extension cord. There are various opportunities for visiting...I ran into someone I taught with almost 30 years ago!...waiting for doors to open afforded me a delightful opportunity to talk with a woman who turned out to be a San Antonio librarian. We had a long discussion about many things library and had a good laugh about how librarians are drawn to each other! On the bus, I met a man from California and we share thoughts about what we had learned at conference, the fires in CA (not close to his home), and it turns out that he has only been in the States 6 years...from Scotland originally. A nice sidebar to an interesting conference...meeting interesting people!

The opening session was typical Texas-style down to the cowboy hats everyone was given, the singing of Deep in the Heart of Texas and lead by an appropriately dressed Texan...sequined vest of the Lone Star flag! And then the high school mariachi band that was SO good...of course, I teared up...I always do for the school groups!

On to the business of the evening:

Trina Davis, President, Board of Directors, ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education®)(she is a professor at Texas A & M-- lots of "whoop -ing" over that!)

We need to be change agents...passionate people who are able to connect with others to transform teaching and learning.

Her major points:

1. Be an advocate for change. Educate those in charge. What needs to have attention--student achievement, teacher quality, and school redesign

2. Share your knowledge and your passion.

3. Showcase the work of students/yourself in innovative ways...increase the circle who sees the showcase...spread it beyond the school walls, particularly with business to show what students are capable of achieving and doing.

4. Dream big...have high expectations for your students...[and my thought...yourself?]

5.Use all available resources to affect these important changes


James Surowiecki, Keynote Speaker:
his book-- The Wisdom of Crowds

Collective wisdom of the group, whatever the group may be
A group that works well together can do important things.
The technology tools help this to happen.

Examples of the collected wisdom
Popular game show Millionaire...the audience correct 91% of the time!
Odds at the race track...popular horses for whatever reason (color, name) win

Prediction Markets
One of the most popular Iowa Electronic Market from 1988-2004 have figured the elections 75% more correctly than polls
Google has a prediction market to predict things within their organization

Wisdom of crowds - collaborative intelligence
Flickr - tagging, taxonomy...collective intelligences of people who select what their pictures represent for the
de.lic.ous - again the tagging...thoughts of the masses
Google itself - collective intelligence of the internet users

What conditions make a group smart?
1. Aggregation method- individual thoughts meld into group thoughts; algorithm, simple average. The 2.0 tools allow for fast and wider range of place and time

2. Diversity - most important factor in collective wisdom; cognitive diversity; different people and their knowledge, culture, etc. look at problems from different ways. random groups offer more choices, make different mistakes, errors cancel themselves out. There is a danger is only groups where everyone enjoys, likes each other...think alike. The more they talk..they get dumber!
Role of devil's advocate is essential...but it can not be the same person all the time. Different people must take on this role.

[personal note: the scene in Apollo 13 where the box of stuff was thrown on the table and the collective minds present had to come up with the solution to get those guys back...diversity was necessary there...lots of thinkers outside the box!]

3. Independence - own knowledge, intuition, less imitation of thought, willing to argue, defend stance.
speak in reverse order of seniority...from the bottom up. look out for talkative people...ones who like the sound of their own voice and always have something to say. they influence the group's results because they become the hub.

more independent (often quieter)...feel uncomfortable or do not express their thoughts. this a key reason for the 2.0 technology...the ability to speak out anonymously or from behind a screen of sorts...we have seen it in our blogs! "wallflowers" can speak thru technology...think how this will benefit the wallflowers in the school!


After the keynote, we milled around picking up the flavors (in more than one way because we grabbed some tasty food) of the crowd and the conference. It was good to find a few minutes as well to share impressions, thoughts. This whole experience is overwhelming at this level [for me!] and it is only the first evening of the first official day!

more to come!


ArborVitae 2.0 said...

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts while you're at NECC. I'm back home and learning from your blogs. I felt the same way when I attended my first ALA conference and we didn't have the Web 2.0 reflection tools that are available now. Please continue as you have time.

VWB said...

hey, thanks for the words of encouragement...have felt like I am meeting myself coming and going at this thing...SO much thinking, learning, reflecting!! sm behind in my blogging of it for all those reasons!