Tuesday, April 19, 2005

On-line learning forum, day two

Yesterday was the first day of the Tech Soup on-line forum on eLearning and collaboration. Today people are exchanging information about the various forms of on-line communications.

I attended an affordable housing forum last night at the Union League Club in Chicago. The two speakers were great. One was president of the National Housing Conference and the other was the former Mayor of Seattle.

More than 100 people attended, and while I knew a few, most were people I'd never met. This forum was a traditional meeting where speaches were made and there was some Q&A. I've been to many of these.

And, as I learn more about on-line meetings and collaboration technologies, I get more and more frustrated because we keep missing opportunities to connect participants in these forums with each other, and with the speakers, and with a world of on-line knowledge, in ways that people can stay connected in the days, weeks and months following the forum.

I envision a day when people in face to face forums will have computers or ipods that enable them to interact with everyone else in the meeting, and enable them to show their agreement, disagreement with the speaker on an ongoing basis during the meeting. Such forums will encourage everyone to ask and give information. Such forums will be connected to similar forums throughout the world. They will be web cast live, and the text will be part of on-line forums, available the next day for anyone to read, learn and get involved.

While that day will certainly come, I think it will come faster as some of us find partners who will work together to build and demonstrate this process in their own actions. We're looking for such partners to support the Tutor/Mentor Connection.

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