Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Back from my day at the TIES 2007 conference!

Hello to anyone who's found this space through that - whether you were at my presentation, or are having fun browsing through the presenter Wiki now that you're back.

I had a great time - this was the first time I'd been to TIES in several years, and the first time I've presented at a conference, so there were lots of new experiences for me. I got a chance to hear some great presentations (comments below) and came home with a number of new approaches to topics near and dear to my heart.

First thing:
I got there on Tuesday morning, registered, got my bearings, and wandered the exhibit halls during the first session. I was quite impressed by the World Book Advanced presentation at 8:45 - while I'd like a chance to explore it directly, it looks like there's an excellent integration of primary source documents and other types of resources with online article content. (My boss, on telling him about it this morning, was also enthused, though it'd likely be a next-year purchase.)

My presentation:
I was presenting from 10 to 10:50, so I went upstairs around 9:30 to set up and make sure everything worked. We had a small group (five people) but some really excellent and thoughtful discussion. I did run a little over time (and missed talking about a few things I'd wanted to spend a little more time on) but most of the contents are available in my notes - they're now posted in in the TIES wiki about my presentation. I'd love to talk further about the topics involved (here, in email, etc.) with anyone interested.

I did get the comment from several people that this material is something almost no-one talks about, but that it's an important part of the picture - which is very much my own feeling, so that's gratifying. I do think understanding why sites might have specific approaches or policies helps both with actual problem solving, and with realistic expectations of how to avoid problems in the future.

Self-Expression on the Web: What's a School to Do?
Continuing my trend of being interested in policy issues, I went to a presentation by Amy Bissionette, a lawyer with Little Buffalo Law & Consulting who focuses on intellectual property issues. I loved her presentation: she gave a number of scenarios talking about different legal issues and case that have come up, split more or less evenly between teacher issues and student ones.

Her handout is quite complete, but there were also some excellent questions and comments from the audience. In particular, we had quite a bit of discussion about how teachers get viewed as public figures in terms of behavior (and differently from other professionals) - and how that's having an impact on how communities view online behavior (posting photos on MySpace, or talking about specific topics.)

She finished by talking about some of the policies that schools should really consider (including having a video policy, which hadn't occurred to me as an issue, and really should have.)

I then went off and had lunch, before ducking in very briefly to see the portable exploradome planetarium (this is a large tent-like dome that includes a digital projector. It's totally unrelated to anything I do professionally, other than being a really amazing bit of technology - but it was absolutely gorgeous, and a very effective sort of resource, and a nice recharging break.)

Policies 2.0: Rules for the Social Web

My last session of the day was Doug Johnson's presentation, which was fantastic (and not just because he said lovely complimentary things about the content I covered in mine.)

I went partly because I know (from previous experience) that he does a fantastic job covering content in an engaging way (something I'm always interested in learning from) but also because I knew I'd learn something. I came away with some great presentation ideas for the upcoming parent presentation we're doing in March, and also some links and resources for our continuing education about online safety and use.

I then went to the closing session, which was a closing session - awards, etc. and some interesting thoughts, but not a lot of specific content.

Trends and thoughts:
I was really pleased - and a little surprised - that the overall consensus about online safety issues was very much "The media is overhyping predatory behavior: this is not the thing we need to worry most about".

I knew that - and the statistics back it up - but I was delighted that this was a widespread feeling with people I talked to about the topic. Everyone seeemed to agree that bullying, in particular, needs more attention, as well as privacy issues, the long-lasting nature of material on the web, etc. Now, if we can only get this across as clearly to parents, the media, and other resources.

One thing I did think about (and will develop further in coming weeks) was how much of how we talk about this is negative. Many of the books, articles, and blogs I've read talk about how to avoid problems - but don't talk nearly as much about how to build healthy online relationships and friendships. (Obviously, this includes some things to watch out for, but the focus is different.)

So, that's my day at TIES - again, any comments, thoughts, or questions are most welcome.

No comments: