Monday, November 8, 2010

DevLearn 2010 Reflections

Tim and Lynn at the booth (photo: Jay Cross)
Back from San Francisco and just starting to come out of the whirlwind that was DevLearn 2010. This being our third year attending, presenting and exhibiting at the conference, I think we had some assumptions of what to expect...but I don't think we got close to anticipating the excitement, energy, and flat out level of busy that we experienced this year.

Me at the Dr. Strangelearn Information Station

In no small part, what kept us jumping was running the Dr. Strangelearn ARG. HUGE kudos to Kristen Cromer who did the lion's share of the work on the ARG, including manning the Dr. Stranglearn Information Station at the conference and co-hosting the Breakfast Byte debrief. I think both Kristen and I will be writing up our reflections specifically around Dr. Strangelearn in the next week or so; but suffice it to say, I was thrilled with the participation and level of engagement of the players and am excited to continue the conversations started this week around ARG design for organizational learning.
Talking about the future
(photo: Philip Hutchison)

The other thing that kept me busy was the 5 sessions that I presented. It didn't sound like that much leading into the conference, but wow...the speaking gigs kept me on my toes. From the ARG session on Wednesday, to Thursday's guest appearances at Mark Oehlert's Social Learning Camp and Alicia Sanchez's Serious Game Zone, then onto the Dr. Strangelearn debrief on Friday and ending with my Future of Learning Technologies was a fun challenge to reframe the work that we do at Tandem Learning throughout the year for the different subjects and audiences.

I made people DO stuff...they seemed ok with it
(photo: Philip Hutchison)
The session I was most looking forward to was the Future of Learning Technologies session, and it was so much fun ending the conference with a packed room and talking augmented reality, virtual worlds, geolocation, and social media...I think we even talked holograms, jetpacks and teleportation. What was interesting in reviewing the twitterstream after the session was that the least technology-related point I emphasized seemed to resonate the most: Start with the problem you are trying to solve. In the end, all of the cool technology in the world isn't much use if it doesn't help us solve organizational issues that can't be addressed in other ways. But I digress...

Let me close with a few highlights of the conference for me, in no particular order:
  • Just being around all of you smart, interesting people. I know I'm going to miss mentioning some of you here that I had great conversations with or got to meet in person for the first time. DevLearn is still for me the one time of the year that I get to see my personal learning network face-to-face, and it was tough to walk even a few steps without recognizing a friendly face or someone recognizing mine. There's just nowhere else this happens on this scale, and it is an exhilarating ride.
      Hobnobbing at DemoFest
      (photo: Jay Cross)
  • Finally meeting Jane Bozarth. And immediately she called me out for not greeting her with the aggressive hugging that I had promised. I quickly remedied that. 
  • Hanging out in Berkeley with Clark Quinn, Harold Jarche, Charles Jennings, Jane Hart and Jay Cross, otherwise known as the Internet Time Alliance. Although I had met each of them either in person or virtually before, it was such a pleasure to spend some time getting to know them outside of the conference scene. Thank you so much for hosting a great shindig and I'm looking forward to seeing all of you again soon.
  • Another "finally got to meet" was Tom Crawford, who was just as awesome in person as he's been virtually and via phone. He also co-witnessed the Irish Raverdance (not a typo...) introduced by a certain social media evangelist and I'm hoping his phone was better than mine at capturing some incriminating video.
  • Introducing Aaron Silvers, Brian Dusablon, BJ Schone and Gary Hegenbart to the Blue Bottle Cafe.
  • Getting people moving on social media tools 
  • Visiting Mark Oehlert's Social Media Tools workshop on Tuesday and noticing that Sumeet Moghe took a picture of me and Aaron Silvers. It was GREAT to meet him and it kinda made me feel like a celebrity...until I realized that Sumeet was literally the best documenter of the DevLearn conference this year...seriously, check out his blog!
  • Comparing dresses and shoes with Alicia Sanchez and Gina Schreck. The gamer girls were bringing it with the fashion this year, seriously.
  • Talking life, love and the pursuit of happiness with Neil Lasher. I can't thank him enough for his pep talk!
  • Catching up, even if only briefly, with Cammy Bean, Kevin Thorn, Nemo and Josh from Bloomfire, Ellen Wagner, Marcia Conner, Wendy Wickham, Kris Rockwell, Stephen Martin, Michelle Lentz, Kristi Broom, Joe GanciAndy Petroski, Philip Hutchison, Steve Nguyen, Enid Crystal, Stephanie Daul, and probably another 20 people who I'll think of after I hit "Publish" on this post.
  • Being SO excited to meet Anne Derryberry and not too long after getting into serious discussions on our views on gamification and gender perspectives on games. 
  • Hearing the players of the Dr. Strangelearn ARG give great feedback, and particularly enjoying hearing the perspectives of our big winner, Rich Miller
  • Getting to know Karen Burpee and having a lot of fun talking ARGs and bullets in military slides...
  • And finally, the one interaction that will stay with me far beyond DevLearn this year, was when I met Jeanette Campos and she brought me to tears with the kind of compliment that makes you think maybe all of your hard work, passion and faith might actually count for something. Thank you, Jeanette. You probably don't know how much your kind words meant to me.
Thanks to the Tandem Learning team for their innovation and hard work both before and at the conference...Jedd, Kristen, Tim and Lynn represented on site and Jen and Marcus kept the ship moving forward in our absence.
Our Master of Ceremonies: Brent Schlenker
(photo: Jay Cross)

And last but not least! A huge thanks to the E-Learning Guild, in particular Brent, David, Heidi, Luis, Juli and Mary, who put on such an amazing conference every year. We can't wait to do it all again in Las Vegas next year!


  1. Thanks for the wonderful recap, Koreen! Now I can read your blog posts and tweets and the voice in my head should NOT be one with a British accent :)

  2. Awww, but Steve! I kinda like thinking I have a British accent! Guess you'll have to settle for my slight midwestern twang ;)