Milwaukee Digital Media Conference (MDMC) at the Milwaukee Art Museum. It was definitely an inspiring week. Being in MAM's Santiago Calatrava addition with the gleaming white Carrera marble and gorgeous daylight spilling in from all sides was breathtaking, but so, too, were the amazing speakers and colleagues I got to meet and learn with all week. One of the coolest things at this conference was that it was the first time I experienced a conference where I was tweeting and reading tweets throughout. I had been pretty skeptical of Twitter suspecting that it was nothing more than a scheme to get my information and send targeted marketing to me based on my Tweets and interests. Of course Twitter is that, but it is also a lot more.
I learned how to use Twitter to take notes in the terse 140 character-phrase required for tweets. As the speakers were presenting I tweeted what they'd said. The tweets were tagged with the appropriate #mdmc or #mdmc10 tag which then added them to the list of tweets from other participants including the leaders and some of the speakers. Can you imagine being able to actually chat with the keynote speaker at a conference?
This was a lot of fun because the insight of the participants provided another level of what was going on. There were many different sessions so you could be in one session and also follow another session or later go back and read what was posted from those other sessions. It created a really cool sub-level of connectivity that I'd never experienced before since I'm newer with Twitter. I don't have an Internet connected phone so this was all happening with my laptop. Twitter as a tool for enlarging your PLN (personal learning network) is something I'd heard and learned, but I hadn't really experienced. I am finding I almost want to check my Twitter feed more than Facebook. The part I don't like is it's hard to keep up if you're not online or connected, so I worry what I'm missing. (would love to have an iPhone! :)) Of course that's where re-tweets come in, RT in Twitter-speak. You can re-tweet something you read from someone else or if you have a certain person you know has a lot to offer in terms of tweets you can search just for their feed or @name them to get directly to them. I finally GET why so many people are going crazy over Twitter.
I learned about a lot of new tools at this conference. I will try to talk about several of them. I apologize that this is a long post, but there was so much! During our time at MDMC10 we worked collaboratively with a team of people to apply the training we were receiving to an actual project. The work that our teams did is posted on a wiki that MAM will actually use to train their junior docents. Chelsea Kelly, School and Teacher Programs Manager of MAM was fantastic in accommodating all of us.
We learned about 2 Timeline tools on the web. Both are free, but also have paid type subscriptions that offer more depth to the service. The first was Dipity. Dipity allows the user to create timelines on any subject. The timelines can also be viewed as animated e-flip books. You can add almost any media content to the timelines including images, videos, text and more. We didn't use this service as there were some issues between the Museum project we were working on and rights to images. We also learned about Time Rime, a British product that allows you to do timelines with embedded media. It was pretty easy to use and to manipulate. The final Timeline that our group created is embedded on the wiki. There wasn't enough time to work through some of the glitches like why some people's content posted to the collaborative timeline, but others' didn't or why some of us got activated accounts and others didn't, yet we could log in. This is a valuable tool that I hope to use with students and I hope to figure out some of the problem stuff, too. I could see students even creating their own online portfolio this way to track their progress throughout a semester or a year.
There is a lot more that we worked on and learned about at the conference. We discussed social bookmarking sites and learned about Diigo. I have both a Delicious and Diigo account. If you are in the same boat you can import all your Delicious data to Diigo. I think I like Diigo a lot more than Delicious for the following reasons. Once the Diigo toolbar for Firefox is installed it is amazing the things you can do. There are other tools and toolbars for other browsers so if you're not a fan of Firefox you can still use this. It is so easy to use. It is also easier I think to organize your bookmarks into groups, tags and lists. You can join groups, highlight content, sticky note content, create lists to organize your content and more. You bookmarks can be public or private and if you send them to a group or list then those who are part of the group can have access and collaborate with your research and theirs. Maggie Tsai, the inventor of Diigo skyped in to talk to us and demonstrate the value of the tool. Diigo is a free web 2.0 tool. I set up an educator account and hope to use this with my AP students this year to promote their research skills. I will put the link to the wiki demo they gave us. Not sure if you have to be member of the wiki to see this or not. This is the new way to do research I think!
I will talk about more of the conference in a Part 2 post later. For now I hope you can see that it was an amazing, but exhausting week!! I will also be posting some photos later.
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