Today is the start of the first mobile symposium on learning organized by UNESCO. It is a joyous occasion, and I have been looking forward to it for weeks. There is only one problem… will this gathering of people result in new ideas on how to get relevant, impactful mLearning on the rails in regions that are lacking trainers/teachers and resources? Or more personally, can I make a difference, can any one person make a difference in such a large gathering of experts?
Ever since I read A&M Texas University’s research conclusion on brainstorming and the fact that it is not useful in big groups, I have been in dubio on how to get my voice heard during large conferences or symposia. If brainstorming only makes sense in one-on-one discussions (the Texan research concluded that in larger groups only consensus of existing ideas is reached, not innovation), then trying to get the one question in after a debate between an expert panel can only … result in some self-flattering idea that I dared to speak up… but it would not mean that my idea of any of the ideas would be picked up unless these ideas would have been launched and discussed beforehand.
The ol’boys (or ol’girl for that matter) network was a familiar concept, but now there is yet another impact factor of that network: if I am not part of the pre-conference network, my ideas will not fall into fruitful soil. So how can I get my voice heard, let alone get the voices or opinions out there from all the educators, teachers, trainers, support workers… that are spread around the world and are working with mobiles to enhance education day in day out?
The only conclusion I could draw at 3 o’clock in the morning was… I should have skyped with the key actors to get my ideas on the agenda. Which inevitably got me doubting my very presence during the next couple of days.
Luckily for my motivation, I am never shy of facing opposing walls, so I want to get one main idea across during these couple of days and if that does not work, I will at least take notes and share it with all of you so we can get into the discussion and build new mLearning opportunities. If you have any thoughts on mLearning, twitter them #unesco_mlw ... looking forward to hearing your ideas!
There is a need to get the format of big gatherings optimized to get all the ideas heard and discussed. Well, some conferences do organize pre-conference discussions (OERu, Networked learning…). Okay... off to record what is said... and looking forward to it!