Armchair Conference Attending

OK, so 10,000 or so people paid good money to spend a few days in the heat and glamor that is Orlando for the FETC sessions.  OK, so they get to talk to others and attend fabulous parties.  OK, so I’m really jealous and must make plans to attend next year.  But none of that is stopping me from doing a little armchair attending this year.

I just finished watching Steve Dembo‘s session at FETC via ustream.  Thanks to Dean Shareski and his ever present camera, Steve’s session went out live to the world. So there were only 7 of us actually watching.  How did this happen?

It started with Twitter.  A person I just started following a few days ago sent out a twit that two sessions were going to be hosted on ustream.  Unfortunately, there were going to be at the same time.  Since I know Steve (who doesn’t know Steve?), and had just finished looking at about 5 million pictures he has at Flickr thanks to PicLens (that’s another blog), I chose to attend that one.

I headed over to and signed up so I could enter the chat room.  While watching Steve, Dean Shareski posted a poll on the video clip asking if we thought Steve would do a live demonstration of Twitter.  It was a unannomous “yes.” We were all wrong. Steve had long ago left the topic of Twitter and had moved on to ustream!

In the chat room, I learned more about how to use Twitter and we talked briefly about what it must be like to be in the conference room and be someone who has never used these tools.  We agreed together that it must be hard to imagine, to picture in one’s head, how all these things add depth to one’s instruction or professional development.  After all, aren’t they just so we can gossip around the globe together?

Uh, no. Twitter, ustream, and chat all worked together to give me about 45 minutes of truly great professional development today.  I follow Dean Shareski on Twitter and read his blog, but I may never have an opportunity to sit down and discuss educational issues with him.  Today, in a chat room, I sat “next to him” and talked about what was going on  in the session.

So from the comfort of my armchair, I have now attended FETC.  I hope to see and hear more before it is over!


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  1. admin said:

    Heh, now I feel guilty for not showing Twitter ‘live’!

    Interestingly, your experience during that session really demonstrated the ideas I was hoping to communicate. I just may have to add that to the actual presentation in future iterations.


  2. Teryl Magee said:

    Tim~ Glad you could join us. I was actually in Hall’s session at the time and Marie was ustreaming it…I didn’t have my camera. Woops! Wish you could have been there more! Next year, next year!

  3. Dean Shareski said:

    Would be great to meet you Tim. I had the pleasure of meeting a number of folks that I’m connected to. It’s a very neat experience. See you at NECC in San Antonio?

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