I thoroughly enjoyed the opening day of the conference! An interesting mix of theory, practice, and visions for the future of education were delivered from "the podium". I was able to attend all of the invited sessions (with the exception of Erik Duval et al.). Nancy White (me, we and networks), Tony Hirst (messing with data), and Alex Wright (the internet that wasn't) delivered terrific presentations.
Equally interesting was the conversations that occurred on twitter (captured on TwapperKeeper). Discussions on Ning were somewhat limited (okay, fine, less than limited: two people posted). The AACE session discussions were more active.
A bit of self-critique on the event:
1. I think the two separate discussion areas are confusing (Ning and AACE). When content and discussion are open, the use of tags can help individuals to pull important elements together (for example, subscribing to "edmedia" on Google Alerts would provide updates on new blog posts). When information is behind password wall, aggregation is not possible. People have to log in to each service to see what has changed. Some services - such as Ning - provide email notifications of new comments, but even this only provides limited value. In a perfect world, information that I desire should be accessible in a format that I choose.
2. The setup of the main conference room is not ideal. Physical design generates affordances. The row on row layout does not permit the informal socialization that is valuable at conference venues. People have to shuffle out of the room in order to interact in small groups. Round tables are great for generating conversation. Most conferences take the row on row approach because it saves space. But, I still like to whine about the oppressive impact on interaction of this layout.
3. We need more laptops, more commentary! Conferences are only partially about what is shared from the podium (or front of the room). Peripheral conversations can provide serendipitous connections with research from other fields.