Conference Round Up

Back from the WNY/O ACRL Conference: No Chalk Dust: Teaching and Learning in an Online Environment.

The keynote speaker was Harry E. Pence – aka John2 Kepler. It turns out that this ended up being another case of SL meets RL, as I’ve chatted with him in SL. I’m still not used to meeting SL people in RL, but it was a nice encounter nonetheless. His talk changed a bit from the conference program – he concentrated on innovation in libraries and innovation with little support. I felt rather lucky, as my library has been quite supportive of my foray into virtual worlds but it is often not the case. These are just a few of the points I took from his session.

  • He stressed selling the sizzle, not the steak – most people don’t understand SL right away, we need to stress how SL can support the mission and goals of the university overall.
  • Innovation requires success from 3 levels – self, the department and the university. It is rare to have the skill set to be successful in all 3 levels, so noted that it is important to have a champion from the department and/or administration.
  • SL attracts risk takers, those willing to try without support
  • Innovators burn out without support
  • Fear often stands in the way of innovation and this fear of change can be more destructive than change itself.

The second session was a panel discussing some of the experiences and challenges of using SL in an academic institution.

The final session shared a class on Designed Play. They’ve been doing some interesting activities. The class involves students noting cool sites-of-the-day, reading responses, creating an sl avatar, 3 in-class projects (product, derive, sl retail space), a personal blog and a final project. Unfortunately, I was too busy watching the videos to take very good notes for this session.

My slides will be linked here soon.

The conference was a nice small conference – great for meeting people and sharing ideas. It was great going home after the conference feeling refreshed rather than tired from the constant flow of information that happens after a multi-day conference. I’d recommend the conference to others in the area.

About theweelibrarian

Liaison Librarian extraordinaire! Interests in libraries and technology, virtual worlds, gov pubs, fun and chocolate.
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