Diverse 2009: Inspiring, creative and well organized! (#diverse2009)

Welcome at Aberystwyth UniversityLast week I attended the Diverse Conference in Aberystwyth, Wales. Primary mission was to present the project videoreflection and digital portfolio’s we did with the students of the School of Education Amsterdam. Secundary mission was to learn more about how other learning professionals implement video, virtual worlds and other visual educational resources in their education. I talked and listened to a lot of very interesting and inspiring people, and learned a lot. I even walked away with an award! So now is the time to reflect on matters and write some blogposts. Consider this the index-post of a Diverse-series.

Diverse Conference
Diverse is an acronym for Developing Innovative Visual Educational Resources for Students Everywhere. It’s an interesting conference, not like others I attended. It’s a small conference, organized by an international community of learning professionals who know each other and are already working together for years. This creates an informal atmosphere, with lots of room for dialogue and creative, innovative ideas. The people attending are good company. Allthough Diverse is an international conference, most attendees are English and Dutch. The Dutch have a strong community in the Netherlands, gathered in and around SURF and the Webstream group. This explains why we were with so many, but it would benefit the conference if other nationalities could put in some more weight.

Creative Concept Coffees
This year the conference was organized by the University of Aberystwyth, in Wales. Great weather! It was really well organized with interesting masterclasses, three keynotes and many parallel-sessions to choose from. Every year there’s an after conference, which I didn’t attend. It always involves a boat.

Coffeebreaks became Creative Concept Coffees, where you could form partnerships with international partners, working out creative and innovative ideas. Diverse installed a small competition this year: the partnership pitching the best idea wins their tickets and conferencefees for Diverse 2010 in Portland, Maine, United States. I’m always up for a creative challenge, so I sat down at the table with colleagues of mine from Trent University and Tilburg University, skipped a few sessions, and worked out a concept in a mindmap. This turned out to be the winning concept. So we’re flying to Portland, Maine next year! What? There’s a catch? We have to actually run our little project? Like I have the time for that! Oh well,  we’ll see how it goes! More on our concept in a later post.

What to blog about?
I’ve coverered most of the sessions via Twitter and CoverItLive. I’m afraid I was number one provider of tweets for this conference, but that’s the way I like to learn during conferences. But luckily I was not alone in my microblogging endeavors. All tweets were streamed in my CoverItLive-session for this Diverse, which was eventually embedded on the Diverse Conference website. There are a couple of subjects I want to expand on, using more than 14o characters. A table of contents (direct links will be added later):

Posts will be hopefully added this week, still have some ‘Flipumentaries’ to edit for the conference wiki and this blog.

Backchannel and conference wiki
There was a lot of coverage of the event going on. Of course the hashtag #diverse2009 was used for Twitter and Flickr (#diverse2009), visualized by a CoverItLive-session and a Twitterfountain. The Dutch attendees kept a conference wiki via a SharePoint ‘SURFgroup’ and shot ‘Flipumentaries’ wich were posted on SURFmedia (#diverse2009) and the conference wiki or the YouTube channel. Great reports!

Aberystwyth
I’ve shot a really bad ‘Flipumentary’ about Aberystwyth, edited it terribly and to make matters worse, used a really bad soundtrack. But it gives you an idea about the location. :)

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