Monday, July 9, 2012

A Blackboard Prelection: Open and Curious - #bbw12 Day 0

PRE-

@40ishoracle and the last journey
of her large  Macbook
I am sitting in an airport in Houston, with about a half-hour before the flight to New Orleans takes off. The @40ishoracle survived leg one on a puddle-jumper express and was able to finish a guest-blog (aside: wow. I am really impressed with gDocs offline mode that was announced at Google I/O -- there is a decent feature set offline and the sync when back on the ground was seamless).

 One of the context setting activities we do in Jesuit Schools is called the Prelection. While they take a variety of forms, the prelection helps set tone and context for the experiences that are to come. It is a way to begin to access prior knowledge, think about the tools that one brings to the task ahead, and generally get "ready", whatever that means.

As I gear up for Blackboard world, I feel the need to clear my mental palatte, in part because I am heading to this conference with little preconceived notion or expectation. At #iste12 I wanted to share our BYOT experience and learn more about the others (some success but a lot of fear), I wanted to learn how people were coping with my personal obsession, #digcit, and the changing ways that our students are learning in light of so much information and so little content (some really cool risk-takers that are more scared of test-culture than students), and I wanted to meet some of my friends from Twitter and the blogosphere (hit and miss...problem with being a watcher by nature).

 As I move into this new event after a hectic week of preparing our new network for a 1:1 BYOT rollout, upgrading teacher computers with an eye toward giving them the same type of choice that we give our student-users, and gearing up for a week of Cajun and Creole (win!), I feel very...open.

 Blackboard's Self Description:
 It is the once a year event where you can get the answers you need, network with over 2,000 peers, meet experts, explore Blackboard partners, learn about our product roadmap, and have the opportunity to share your ideas on how to shape Blackboard's products and services in the future. As past BbWorld® attendees have said, "there is no better place to discover, share and learn, experience and participate in leveraging Blackboard."
 What I am intrigued by (and hence this sense of non-opinion, which is a little unlike me) is that, while I am very open to learning how to leverage our Blackboard product (the newly re-branded ENGAGE, formerly Edline), I feel that any attempt to put all of our educational eggs in one basket is doomed to frustration (I blogged about this more in-depth here).

I am interested as a consumer in what can Blackboard do for me when I am unwilling to let my teachers be dominated by a single platform if there are other avenues that offer more educational potential. I am interested as an educators in what Blackboard does in the face of tablets, phones, chromebooks, laptops, and e-readers all looking to break out of a platform-specific experience. I am looking forward to meeting people who have both drunk the LMS kool-aid and who have used that to create amazing learning environments for their students.

So, in the best tradition of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I am preparing myself mentally for a journey...an experience with no particular goal in mind other to be and interact. Not easy for a type-A geek.

My supplies list:

JD still loves PicSay Pro

  • Chromebook (my goto mobile device. 10 hr battery, 8 sec startup, 3g built-in)
  • Transformer Prime (with keyboard and fancy leather case. I have found one use-case for this beyond consumption -- I am now maintaining 4 email accts. It is much easier to stay up on notifications, particularly 3 gmails, from a tablet.)
  • 2 Kodak Play cameras, a flex tri-pod, lav mics -- Jen and JD will do at least one episode from #bbw12.
  • The Android Robot, because it wouldn't be The Jen&JD show without the star.
  • #edtech and #edlingo Bingo Prizes for anyone who is brave enough to call out bingo in the middle of a session.
  • My GalaxyNote and Bluetooth
  • The paperback Joshua by Robert Girzone, SJ for those annoying airplane rules
  • My Kindle Fire for the Movie&TV app. -- one week before the Nexus 7 goes for a mini-tab displacement.
  • Distinctly missing are comicbooks. I loaded a bunch that had free download combo-codes from this week's purchases. I have real concern for the comic-book shop model, but that is a different post entirely.

The plane is boarding. Expect some on the ground updates. Some instagrams of really unhealthy food. At least one video podcast. And some educational insights with a touch of snark -- everything you have come to expect from this blog.