Plain and simple, despite some down moments, this was the best NECC I’ve attended. It was, for the most part, a fun, creative, good space to be in, and I learned a great deal even though I realized yesterday that I hadn’t attended a formal session. (That is actually kind of bizarre, isn’t it? And now of course I realize I missed a great deal.) But it just felt like I was getting so much from the conversations in the Blogger Cafe/Camp and at the other meet-ups throughout the five days that the sessions felt kind of unappetizing. And when I was prepping for my spotlight yesterday, I kept struggling with the same thing…the feeling that that model of someone standing on a stage talking for an hour paled as compared to just having a conversation. The whole experience has challenged my thinking a great deal.

And one other thing that kind of blossomed out of this whole thing was the Twitterish, synchronous conversation that started popping out everywhere. Jeff posted the Skypechat transcript that a bunch of people were having during my presentation. Many of them were in the room, but Clarence Fisher was supervising a science exam in Manitoba and Dean Shareski was out in Moose Jaw. And as Jeff Twittered out the fact that the chat was taking place, more people joined in along the way. It reminded me of ILaw at Harvard a couple of years ago where they actually projected the back channel IRC chat onto the screen as the presenter was presenting. (Now THAT was chaos.) For me, the benefit of tracking the reaction and thinking as I read through it a day later is really fascinating. The learning continues.

So I’m leaving NECC with a lot more optimism, not necessarily that things are going to move any faster or that the challenges are any smaller. But with a real sense of glue. We may not have succeeded at EdBloggerCon at crafting the elevator pitch or figuring out what the new story is, but there is now a sense, at least to me, of more of a collective mission. One that we can already start thinking about for next year in San Antonio. What are our goals? What do we want to have accomplished by then? What are the benchmarks? I took the liberty of adding a new page to the EBC site.

There is an election next year, you know…

Many thanks to everyone who contributed to my learning this year. Hope I added something useful to the conversation.

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