June 25, 2004

To New Orleans and Back

After a week in a stupor coming back from China, I went off again to NECC, which I guess is the major conference of the year for me. I always use the NECC conference to force myself to push the WebQuest model another step forward. It helps to have a deadline and an audience.

On Monday Philip and I presented some research in progress called When Teachers Blog, in which we're analyzing what our preservice teachers are writing about in EDTEC 470. It was a roundtable session, which meant that we presented conversationally at a table with 10 chairs. By the time we were done, there were an additional 15 people standing around the table chiming in with their take on teacher (and kid) blogging. It was low-key and insightful. We're still working on the data and will continue to watch how many keep blogging for a semester after the course is over.

Monday evening, he and I did the requisite Bourbon Street thing, walking around with mint juleps in hand, watching balconies loaded with guys from Des Moines getting in touch with their inner fratboy and tossing beads down to women from Louisville flashing body parts better left unseen. We stood in line for an hour to swelter for another 30 minutes in Preservation Hall which felt more genuine than the rest of it, though deeply routine for the musicians.

Funny thing happened on the way to decadence. A guy gave us a cheery hello and offered us a wager. Looking down at Philip's spiffy footware, he said "I'll bet you five dollars I can tell you the exact street and the exact city and state where you got your shoes." Philip demurred, wisely not wanting to get involved. Still.... how could this guy know? We weren't wearing anything with "San Diego" printed on it. Alright, Philip said. Where?

"You got your shoes on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana." said the guy, which sure enough was true. Philip didn't pay up, though.

The next day I organized a Birds of a Feather session for WebQuest fans which drew about 60 people and went well.

The next morning was the big session I've been mulling over for months. Blogs and Wikis as WebQuest Tasks. My room held 475 people and there were 30-40 standing in the back and sitting on the floor. It went pretty well, I think, and it was blogged about. Got lots of nice comments afterwards. Think I should write it up as an article.

And now I'm home and it finally feels like summer has begun.

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