AUC Day 1 Smatterings

It’s actually Day 2 starting as I write this. It’s a glorious spring week here at the Gold Coast in Queensland. Lots of temptations to lure away the conference delegates, not the least of which is the gorgeous beaches … but! We’re here to soak up the good stuff, and that’s the usual round of keynote presentations, parallel sessions (academics, techs, developers) and catching up with old or making new friends and colleagues.

Yesterday’s themes seemed to revolve around the inevitability of IT touching everyone’s lives, and the implications that has for the development of digital technology. Keynote speaker Kenneth (Casey) Green, Director of the US-based Campus Computing Project noted that our reach continues to exceed our grasp, with consumer experience defining IT expectations on campus. ‘So, where is the bang for all the IT buck?’ he asked. Good question. Casey has tracked university students use of technology for some 30 years, and he has the data to prove it. He claims quite rightly, that it’s not enough to have an epiphany about IT (and most of us have had just such a conversion at some time or another), hard evidence is needed to show how IT is working in education. ‘Address impacts and outcomes,’ he urged. In fact what resonated for me about the Conference’s first keynote speaker was a call to everyone to gather data …’In God we trust; all others bring data.’ (Deming) The other was to take a leadership role. ‘Never stop moving …. if you stop, you die.’

Apple Australia Stephen Atherton’s presentation took up the same theme, “Collaborate or Die!” It was getting all a bit ultimate suddenly, though we did get a peek at the backend of Leopard. I wondered whether my presentation set for Tuesday would be lightweight by comparison. I spent a couple of hours later tweaking my Keynote presentation for showing. It’s big on images, light on text. Have to say some of the presentations today were the reverse, and so difficult to follow as a result. I’ve had fun taking Keynote 08 for a spin.

The day continued with more parallel sessions in which the conference themes got dusted down and examined: contribute, communciate, collaborate. I’m going to add ‘create’ to the mix today. Gen-Y and ‘Digital Natives’ were looked over and examined for their so-called ‘natural’ collaboration with all things digital. Not surprisingly, this generalisation got shot down in flames. It’s not the technology that defines people; it’s the people who define the technology. So … no such thing as a digital native, only a lot of individuals, thousands of opportunities, and so little time.

Author: Kate Wilson

Actor, director, teacher, dabbler with paint, serial traveller.