Today I attended a conference and participated in a open forum discussion about Personal Learning Networks. This session was led by David Warlick and was held in North Carolina. The awesome thing is I attended and participated in this conference session from my desk in Goodhue, MN.
I first was made aware of this session by checking my Twitter account. David Warlick had just posted on Twitter that he was streaming his session on Ustream and invited other Twitterbugs to join. I clicked on the link and joined the session. In the session he placed an open invitation to all those attending the session virtually to Skype in their questions, comments, and feedback. A few of us did. Additionally, there is a backchannel on Ustream where virtual attendees can discuss the session with text.
Although there were issues with connectivity that I presume had to do with the bandwidth at the conference in NC causing my Skype conversation to be cut short and often caused the Ustream video to freeze at times this setup made me feel I was actually there. Can you imagine if this becomes standard practice for conference presenters? What would that mean for professional development? What would that mean for sharing ideas? If you could attend any session at any conference done by any person and could provide real time feedback, how valuable would that be?
On top of the cool tools this session used the content was engaging, relevant, and useful as well.