Friday, November 20, 2009

Reflections on DevLearn 09

So this was our sophomore showing at DevLearn. Very different from our first year, when we were pretty much those unknown punks in the hallway next to the mens' room listening in on Alicia Sanchez in the Serious Games Zone and the crazy crew who dared to host a wine tasting event the last night. This year, still in the hallway by the mens' room and still getting to listen to Dr. Sanchez, but anonymous no more. Just a few thoughts on Tandem's second year at DevLearn...

  • Wow, it was cool to *see* everyone. I knew the live meetings with my Twitter network were going to be amazing, and I was right. People who I hadn't met in real life before that I finally got to meet abounded...I was particularly smitten when Nicole Fougere  (@schnicker) asked for a photo.

    DevLearn was a veritable "who's who" of learning professionals and being able to rub elbows with the likes of Neil Lasher, Janet Clarey, Cammy Bean (all who I hadn't met in person before) was more than well worth the price of admission. I can't even list all of the people who I got to meet...and who I got to meet up with again. Total shot of learning geekiness and boy, did it feel fine.
  • The eLearning Guild puts on a fantastic conference. So, I go to a lot of conferences, and I'm under no illusion that they are easy to pull off, let alone to pull off a great conference when conferences are taking a hit. Brent Schlenker did an amazing job, and to all of the Guild (David, Heidi, Bill, Tim, Juli, and everyone else I'm missing...) thanks for the great work that you do. Congrats on the new LearningSolutions online magazine and looking forward to the Learning Solutions conference in 2010.
  • Keynotes are people too. In particular, I loved chatting with Eric Zimmerman who was great and I'm hoping to figure out a crazy scheme to collaborate on in the future. And I may or may not still have his conference badge.
  • Zombies be gone! I am still completely overwhelmed with the response to the Zombie Apocalypse ARG, and thank you, THANK YOU, to everyone who supported and participated. This is not the last I'll be writing on this, but this is my big thank you to the players. I'm looking forward to hearing more stories and collecting more feedback. And thanks to Philip Hutchison for the fab button!

  • Mark Oehlert is my hero. Ok, so yes, we're friends, and we have a few things in the works. But OMG, Mark talked for 3 days straight on social media for learning, organizational issues, etc. (Tuesday pre-conference, Social Learning Camp Wed - Thurs and a bit on Friday). He didn't even get a break for lunch. If you missed sitting in on some of his session time--you missed a lot. Also love his most quotable phrase: We've moved from "subject matter experts" to "subject matter networks." Next time you see him, buy that guy a drink. And get him talking about social media :)
  • Real life is distracting, even in the midst of awesomeness. So last year, we (Tandem) were solely focused on DevLearn. This year...projects, personal stuff...lots of distractions. For three weeks leading up to the conference, we had barely slept due to a project. I got to San Jose, and even with all the amazing conference stuff, the business could not be ignored. I was even too tired to karaoke...sad. Just sad.
  • That's what friends are for. There were lots of familiar faces and friends at DevLearn. Just wanted to give a special thanks to Aaron Silvers and Bruce Joy from VastPark for helping support my pre-conference workshop on virtual worlds and for moral support throughout the week. Thanks to Kris Rockwell for just being my doppleganger and alterna-Tandem representation. And...thanks to Kristen Cromer and Jedd Gold, my Tandem partners in crime, for riding the crazy roller coaster with me and keeping me sane.
So that's a wrap! Looking forward to DevLearn10 already...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What I've learned from my Personal Learning Network (PLN)

Next week, you'll find me in San Jose at DevLearn 09. I'm doing a pre-conference session with David Anderson on virtual worlds, on Thursday one of my esteemed colleagues will be talking about games for learning and on Friday, we'll be debriefing the Zombie Apocalypse. Oh, and we'll have a little booth in the hallway to talk about what Tandem can do for you :).

As excited as I am about all of that, the thing I'm most excited about are seeing live and in person all of the folks who will be in attendance that have taught me, made me laugh, challenged me, and helped me grow as a learning professional over the last year. I tend to call them my Twitter friends, but they aren't confined to on Facebook, a fellow member of the Black Swan Society in, riding Google Wave with me, a connection on LinkedIn, a fellow Skype-er, just someone who I'm IMing with in Gchat. I'm proud to say that over the course of the last year, I've had the privilege of meeting in person many of the people I've connected with through social media. But DevLearn 09 is where worlds will collide on an epic and awesome scale.

In preparation, I've been thinking about what I've learned this year through my personal learning network (PLN) and have compiled a few things here:

  • Evidently I'm funnier in person
  • Occasionally people do read my blog, so it matters what I write here
  • I have a sixth sense for knowing when people are talking about virtual worlds so I can pipe in to the conversation
  • Connections you make personally and professionally through social media technologies can be as and even more meaningful than ones you make face-to-face
  • Some of my best friends I met online
  • We is (usually) always smarter than me
  • I enjoy the support of people who think like me and value the challenge of people who don't
  • I love finding other women who are interested in technology, games, and feels like an elite sisterhood and I feel an instant connection and bond with those women
  • Its amazing how willing to share my PLN is. I am constantly in awe
  • Changing my hair color and updating my avatar picture cause a dramatic reaction in people who haven't even met me in person
  • I like hearing about people's day to day trials and tribulations to help me get to know them as much as I like the value and knowledge they bring to intelligent discussions
  • As much as I love hanging out with my friends virtually, I still love to get a drink with them in real life
So, if you'll be in San Jose at DevLearn next week, come find me.  I drink whiskey sours, lots of cherries.