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EBC ’09 musings #1: The time(s) and place(s) for backchannels

There’s a bit of irony that I’m writing this given that Scott McLeod got on my case this morning for having my head in my Blackberry too much.  I’m glad he did that.  Here’s why…

I’m disconcerted that we’re here at Edubloggercon ’09 which is billed as an unconference where conversations happen.  The goal is to stand in contrast to NECC proper where there are formal sessions with (usually) presenters speaking to the audience.  Yet, even in the smaller breakout “conversations” here at EBC, there are more heads in the machines having conversations in the backchannel(s) than there are having face-to-face conversations.  I would take a picture, but I don’t want to “out” anyone.

I’m all in favor of backchannels…in the right place(s) at the right time(s).  If I wanted to chat online with the folks here, I could have stayed at home.  Additionally, if I were facilitating a discussion among a really large group of people, I might encourage a backchannel there.  But, I came here to have meaningful, face-to-face, real conversations about real issues in education.  Fortunately, I’m finding those in small pockets off to the side; I’ve had a few really meaningful conversations and it’s only 11:30.

But, I hope others join me this afternoon in using this particular opportunity, Edubloggercon, to get our heads out of the machines and to look each other in the eyes and to engage in “real” conversation.

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