There's nothing like a quick three day trip from California to Germany and back to sharpen one's appreciation for"anywhere, anytime" distributed communications technologies.
Even so, #OEB2009 was excellent this year - worth a little jet lag, which was easily cured with a few extra hours of sleep, some aspirin and a good soak in the hot tub.
This was the 10th anniversary of my first OEB, which is now in its 15th year. I've attended seven times. Online learning has done a lot of growing up during the past decade, and OEB has grown right along. Today it is the largest international conference dedicated entirely to online learning in the world. It's an energetic, occasionally seething mix of academic researchers, non-governmental organizations, large global enterprises, small innovative businesses, ministries of education, labor and defense. More than 2000 delegates from 92 different countries. Eye-opening and inspiring.
I know we can read the papers and view the presentations, follow the #oeb2009 tweets and retweet what others are saying. We can reach out and virtually touch someone in a webinar. But you know...and I know I am speaking heresy here...but sometimes being there, in person, really is better.
<Waiting for lightning to strike....>
Here is my top line summary from this year's OEB trip report:
Opening plenary: Lord Puttnam on education, climate change and the the role of moving pictures and virtual worlds and the future of learning. Brian Durran on the London Grid for Learning. Zenna Atkins from Social Solutions asks if education institutions will lead the news ways of learning or if learners will lead by demand.
The Internet Time Alliance brings us Creating the New Era of Corporate Learning - Jay Cross, Charles Jennings, and Jane Hart in person, Harold Jarche and Jon Husband via Connect from Canada. Jerry Michalski and Jay Cross. Barcamps and Unconferences. Excellent.
Quality time with Jane Hart. I'm a fan of Jane's Pick of the Day. I follow her on Twitter, I read her C4LPT blog, I admire her work with the eLearning Guild. I'm glad we were Battling Bloggers together. More on that in a bit.
The Online Educa Debate. Wow. It's an artform. Nothing like my weinie debate experiences from high school. No offense to my high school.
The Adobe eLearning Suite and Solutions exhibition stand. Okay, I admit it. The Adobe eLearning Suite fell short of what I had hoped to accomplish when I was at Adobe Systems. But I have to say, when I saw the trade show stand featuring "my baby", I was very proud to have been a part of bringing that product to market.
Happy birthday, Jerry Michalski!
Hindsight, Insight Foresight, Oversight: Learning Futures plenary. Professor Gilly Salmon from the University of Leicester, and Aaron Porter, National Union of Students, Artur Dyro from Young Digital Planet and Lisbeth Goodman from FutureLabs. Yours Truly as session chair.
Battle of the Bloggers. Donald Clark and Jane Hart and Clive Shepherd and Bert De Coutere and me. Wow. How very cool for me to share the session with these well known elearning leaders. Thankfully, we didn't really battle - I would have been shredded in a true debate.I am very glad to have met these luminaries in person and am looking forward to ongoing future conversation. Hopefully over beers.
Best of all - reconnections with friends from around the world. Sometimes when I get tired and cranky I think about all these amazing people from all over the world, doing amazing things with learning technologies. Have to say, then I don't feel so tired and cranky.
So, now. We have a new roadtrip in the works.
On to Boulder. It's time for WCET 2.0