Well that’s the end of day three of Learning without Frontiers. I really enjoyed the conference and in my opinion was probably one of the best conferences that I have been to that Graham Brown-Martin has organised.
There was a great community of delegates and it was nice to meet and chat with old friends, meet some of my Twitter community of practice in real life and make some new friends.
I found there was a really good mix of speakers, workshops and discussions. Lots of choice from which to choose a track of sessions that stimulated, inspired and made you question your practice. For me what makes a good conference programme is a set of sessions that means you are forced to make choices and get ever so slightly disappointed that you have to make that choice and miss some really good stuff. That’s certainly how I felt about the different sessions and workshops.
The thing that you have to recognise about Graham’s conferences is that these are not a traditional academic conference, no this a polished theatrical series of performances. This is no bad thing, but even with all the bright lights and sparkly glitter balls doesn’t mean that all the presentations are lightweight, on the contrary, with some big names with big ideas there was lots to be inspired by and lots to make you think.
Some of the highlights for me were listening to Tony Vincent about mobile film making, I also enjoyed Tony’s App sharing session. I really enjoyed listening to Saul Nassé’s presentation about the value of the BBC and how it inspires. Yes it was me that asked the difficult question about Tomorrow’s World and BBC Jam! Evan Roth’s presentation was both entertaining and inspiring. The Apps for Good workshop was a useful session on planning apps, wish I had the imagination and skills to write a good app. The serious debate and discussion on e-safety with Josie Fraser and David White at the heart of this was both useful and informative, this will feed into my own institution’s e-safety strategies and policies. Keri Facer, who did a great presentation at the JISC Online Conference also gave a great presentation that reflected much of what the audience were thinking and reminded us that it is important that when making difficult decisions that we should base these decisions on evidence and facts and not just on what we believe. Stephen Heppell, who I have heard many times once more made us think and reflect on what we do. I loved David McCandless, it was nice to hear the voice behind many of the wonderful infographics that I have seen many times on the web. I also found Jimmy Wales talking about Wikipedia and where he sees Wikia moving forward really interesting and alongside Lord David Puttnam a great end to the conference. I was particularly pleased to see that Jimmy was there at the venue and not presenting over a video feed, which is what I had been expecting. I managed to have a few words with Jimmy and wished I could have had a few more, seemed like a really nice and genuine guy. It was funny to hear from him when he did present he understood the impact of his “personal appeal” for Wikipedia had had on the internet community. But it did work, raising $16m.
Finally a thank you to Graham Brown-Martin for a great conference and a inspiring set of speakers and sessions. I left the conference with new thoughts, ideas, new thinking, inspiration and so much more. I hope to post on these over the next week or so.