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Monday, November 3, 2008

Accepting Accomodations: Day Two

October 30
Day Two went much better! It's amazing what a good night's sleep can do! This time I knew right where to obtain my morning coffee and muffin. I understood the layout of the conference center and could navigate to the various room locations without wandering around in a daze like the day before. Off to a good start.

This time when I attended the general session in the large auditorium I arrived early enough to find my way to the assigned seating. When I got there another woman was sitting in the section. I struck up a conversation with her and found out she was an ASL interpreter. For this presentation two interpreters took turns signing what the speaker said. I was so pleased to get this opportunity to improve my ASL reading skills. Especially since the talk was very IT (information technology) heavy and much less interesting than the previous day's speech on brain research. Now I know the signs for "embedded computer" and "internet". How about that!

The next presentation was on "Confessions of a Digital Immigrant". That topic sounded fascinating to me. A digital immigrant is someone born before 1982 who has had to learn all the technology that digital natives (those born 1982 and later) take for granted. I found my assigned seat in the front row and was all excited to hear the speaker's wisdom. Unfortunately, this speaker took the liberty of changing his presentation to a talk on what it's like to be a CIO (chief information officer). I could not relate to that at all. Grrr. However, the speaker had been honored with an award at this conference so out of respect and politeness not to mention my conspicuous seat practically under his nose I stayed to hear his talk. But I didn't tire myself out listening too closely.

A much more interesting talk on social media was given by a young woman with a prominent pink streak in her hair. For this session, I ended up at the back of the room but I used my Pocket Talker and heard everything. I also used my assistive listening device for a talk on how one university has implemented mobile devices (ipods and iphones in this case) into their curriculum. That's something I've been asked to get involved in looking at for my own school.

In the afternoon I explored the vendors exhibit area. I heard a great presentation by Camtasia. I am very interested in their Camtasia6 product which would enable me to add captions to the podcasts I'm creating of my library's technology workshops. Their sales reps were really helpful in answering my questions about captioning and even gave a step-by-step demonstration of how it's done. A man from Duke University happened to sit next to me during the demo and while chatting with him, he gave me a great idea for assessing these podcasts. Brilliant! The Educause conference emphasizes the importance of networking with others in your field to share ideas and this is where that happened for me.

It wasn't all business. There were lots of free giveaways and drawings in the exhibit area. I got three t-shirts (one for me, one for hubby, and one for my son) from different vendors and loaded up with cool pens. I "won" a set of golf balls at one booth for taking a swing at a mini golf hole. I "raced" a toy car around a track. I picked up assorted gizmos and some nice cloth tote bags at other booths. Best of all was my enthusiastic greeting from the Wimba owl! I didn't even have to be at Disney World to get my picture taken with a friendly costumed character.

The fun continued that evening with a Halloween party at Universal Studios City Walk.
There was a generous buffet laid out and music and performers all around. I met a Chicago icon (John Belushi as one of the Blues Brothers) and had my photo taken once more. Of course, this outdoors party (designed for hearing people) was very loud so I didn't stay the whole evening. A pair of foam earplugs would have come in handy. I got back to the hotel and found out my husband and son had a wonderful day of their own exploring more of the Universal Studios theme park. Day Two was fun.

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