Thursday, August 16, 2007

MERLOT (MIC07) Keynote Day 3

The MERLOT Conferences and the ideas presented at them always provide me with plenty to reflect on once I get back home and to work. The MIC07 provided an interesting and eclectic mix of presenter and topics. Typically, MERLOT has three keynotes at a conference. One is future focused, a second is discipline focused, and the third usually has an applied focused.

The third keynote on the last day of the conference was very future focused. One of the most ambitious and “bleeding edge” presentations at this conference was given by Barbara “Bee” Dieu. A self-professed Webhead, blogger, wiki-maker,Second Lifer, and reader of Kerouac, if she appeared on the old What’s My Line TV Game Show the panel probably would not see this mature, soft-spoken, teaching professional as an experienced and relaxed inhabitant of cyberworlds and user of Web 2.0 .

Bee's presentation was broad in scope and had so much Web 2.0 stuff in it that it may have been too much to digest in such a short time frame. The MERLOT community is made up of technology saavy folks, but many of them watched, listened, and left this presentation a little woozy from ideas and technologies Bee demonstrated. Wikis, Second Life, Blogs, Webathons, ZOHO, Twitter, Flikr, and the like are not in the tool box of most educators right now. Just a quick look at the vocabulary from her wiki would send all but the most "bleeding edge" technology pioneers running for the online dictionary, google, kartoo, or wikipedia.

While Bee's presentation might have been a little "out there" for some in the audience, her bold demonstration and use of technology, social networking, Web 2.0 tools, and cyberworlds is a bit of a wake up call. Her presentation points to new ways in which the web and technology can be used in education. It was satisfying to listen to a woman present on new tools, worlds, and ideas on how to use and share technologies. Bee has friends around the world and presents on her work often. She is a woman technology leader and user to watch.