Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Collaborate...or not?

The thing I love most about ICT conferences, is the ability to share, create new context and collaborate. During a given session I will twitter to my friends about what I'm learning, share my notes on Google Docs, look up websites and paste links, and all the while participate effectively in the Breakout. As I'm a tactile learner, this is the way I process, think and reconstruct ideas.

Sitting in my second breakout at Learning@school, I found myself next to a colleague from a different school. In the spirit of 21st Century Learners we decided to collaborate and share our notes using Google Docs. The presenter had asked us all to move the furniture into a kind of horseshoe shape, which had me inadvertently shifted to the back of the room. He then proceeded to instruct us that he wanted 100% eye contact. A bit tricky now that I was sitting at the back of the room, with my back to him. 'Well', I thought, 'I better get myself organized quickly, before he starts'. He sidled over at this point and in a friendly manner asked whether there was anything wrong with my computer. I assured him that I was fine, just getting myself organized. Gee, was I surprised when he pounced on my colleague and I a few moments later. (We had been quietly setting up a shared Google Docs document to take our notes.) We were told that we were annoying him, and that he wanted 100% participation. I was last so chastised by my Principle in Standard 5.

Needless to say, I was a bit switched off for the rest of the (double) presentation.

Moral of the story: Choose when to collaborate!

What do you think? Should we have boundaries to our collaboration, and if so, what are the boundaries?

PS: If anyone wants to share my notes on Google Docs, let me know!


  1. Oh Raenette, I'm so sorry you had that horrible experience! I hope you had other wonderful experiences at Learning@School to make that one disappear!

  2. Boy! I'm glad I didn't go to that breakout. I think that this experience of yours has no reflection on your (attempted) collaboration - instead it shows that you presenter has a very poor understanding of how people learn, and a rather large ego (seeing as he needs to be the focus of everybody's attention). I say collaborate as much as you like - I wish I had been sitting next to you!!