I had an enjoyable day attending the MEC 2011 Conference at Arizona State University (an ed tech conference that is in its 31st year). Part of the thrill was returning to the campus I spent 1987-1991 as a graduate student. Much has changed, but many things are the same. I was glad to track down one of my old grad school room-mates who is now a prof in the department we studied (Yo Dr. Biff! Bring your fishing rod up to the Strawberry).
The conference opened with a great keynote by Karen Cator, the Director of the Office of Technology at the US Department of Education. One can only imagine the scale of responsibility at that level, so it is even more impressive that she seems so genuine / real in person, and you can see her teacher experience in the way she talks.
I had an odd half thought looking out at the audience during one moment of the keynote. I was noting how many people were busy taking notes- in that photo above are people note-taking on an iPad, a laptop, and good old fashioned paper. I found myself wondering about the effectiveness of pretty much half? three quarters? of the audience individually taking notes, essentially more or less the same content. Those notes then go back to various silos, files, buried folders on computers. It seems on on level a huge missed opportunity in collaboration, and super redundant of people’s energy.
It’s not that I expect everyone to be in some magical shared collaborative space, but I’d think we would have more of it. The image of scribes dutifully recording all the ideas of the orator, feels…. old.
What is the value of rooms full of scribes in a so called digital age?