Productive day in Einhoven
It was an interesting experience to listen to Joseph Kessel‘s opening keynote: Joseph has a very different background from mine, more influenced (I think) by Peter Drucker than, say, Doug Engelbart (one of my Big Heroes). Yet, his story was very similar to the keynote I did immediately after him. Makes me think that there must be something about it that is really getting to the core? Maybe you can judge for yourself from the slides below…
In the afternoon, I did two conversation sessions with a smaller group of participants. BTW, this is something I really recommend to all of you who present regularly. It is a great way to learn what folks picked up from your talk, what questions they have, etc.
Today, two remarks came back several times from the audience:
- People often feel overwhelmed by the abundance of technical options and tools. I pointed out that when I use for instance twitter in class, I don’t start with the tools. Rather, I think about how I can stay close to my students while they work on their projects in between face-to-face sessions, because I want to avoid that they waste time doing not-so-relevant things… I need synchronous communication with them. I could also use MSN chat (probably a good idea a few years ago) or facebook chat (might also work)… Basically, I need to figure out where the students live or how I can get them addicted to a new tool so that they do not need to power up new client for their course – which they will not do or keep doing (because they are … people, just like you and me!) This also means that it is not a problem if we change to google wave or something else later on: it would still be about synchronous communication! In short: don’t worry about the tool – think about the configuration, the orchestration of services that makes sense to support what you want to do! And then pick a tool that works for you…
- There were also many questions about sustainability if we give all resources away for free. My answer always circles on the need to remove unnecessary barriers – these may include money, but are much more wide-ranging than just that. By removing those barriers, we are forced to better address the question about where the value is that we provide: if your trainees do not need to come to your training session to get access to the learning material, then what value can you provide them with so that they will still come? And if you cannot provide any additional value, then why would they come?
As I mentioned: this was a really nice day with an audience of 100 or so committed, focused, critical professionals who engaged in active discussions. Thanks, folks! And do not hesitate to continue the conversation – here or elsewhere!