Daily Archives: April 25, 2009

First Annual Etudes User Summit – April 23, 24 2009 – Los Angeles

Etudes (www.etudes.org) held its first annual User Summit this week in Los Angeles. The summit sold out and attendance had to be capped at 90 people. The attendees were a mix of teachers, academic administrators responsible for teaching, and the Etudes team. It was a high energy meeting from start to end. Sessions ranged from pedagogy and approaches to teaching online to requirements gathering sessions to strategy discussions about future directions for Etudes. The sessions I attended were characterized by nearly continuous interactivity between and among the presenters and the audience. During lunches and breaks there was so much interaction that the room was almost roaring. Teachers were doing what they do best – teaching each other – all day long for both days.
Here are a few of my pictures from the Etudes 2008 User Summit.
Disclosure: I am proud to be on the board of directors of the Etudes 501(c)(3) public charity corporation.
I had the opportunity to give a keynote speech on Thursday morning titled “Celebrating the Magic of Teachers” (slides).
This was a fun romp (for me at least) of how I have been working in Educational Technology for the past 15 years and working toward a goal of putting technology in the hands of teachers and learners. The talk has a thread of standards and interoperability and IMS running throughout.
The tag line(s) were as follows:
“After over a decade of effort, 2 million airplane miles, and four job changes, my goal is still to find ways to put educational teachnology directly in the hands of teachers – so they can use it to teach.
My technical objective is to make it so that teachers can easily trade software and content between each other (like virtual baseball cards). Regardless of what learning management system (or systems) their institution has adopted.”

I had no idea if the talk would even be mildly interesting to the attendees – I figured I might put them to sleep with my self-absorbed tale about my favourite topic (me). But they were very interested throughout and I got many nice comments from the attendees indicating that it was not boring at all. Whew!
After the summit ended at 3PM on Friday, Glenn and I took a four-hour tour of Los Angeles Sights including the Playboy mansion, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, The La Brea Tar Pits, the Hollywood sign, and Grumman Chinese Theater – and we made it back in time for a nice dinner with Vivie at the Encounter restaurant at LAX before we all went to our flights back home.
All in all, it was a wonderful two days and an apt celebration of how far Etudes has come since it became a non-profit last year. Vivie and her team are to be congratulated on a year of hard-work and success.