A Lesson in Listening. #FAIL

August 14, 2009

Today I’m at Radcliffe listening to various educators and technology specialists. This group of learned professionals has gathered for the Social Technology and Education Conference in an effort to impart tech knowledge to an audience of teachers, administrators and related education professionals.

There are some great things about this conference and there are some failures. Let’s start with the pluses…

*Registration was a dream. Simple and fast. All badges were ready and there was never a line
*Sessions cover a lot of ground so there’s a topic for everyone
*The facility was perfect – the Gym at Radcliffe is roomy and sound travels well

Photo 42

*Wifi was provided! (I still wonder about tech conferences that fail to provide reliable and strong wifi for attendees)
*Slides and presentations are already online – in part

If I were to stop there, you’d go away thinking you’d rush forward and sign up now for next year. Not so fast. Here’s how the event failed…

*It was publicized ONLY using social media and new media tools. So the people who NEED training with these tools are expected to find out about the conference via those same tools. Further, the traditional media outlets wrote nothing about the conference in advance because they are poorly trained to listen to social media noise.
*No lunch. That’s a personal pet peeve, but if you’re bringing us all together for the day, why not foster some casual networking by keeping us onsite during our meals instead of sending us out into the world during the conference?
*By the middle of the day, the conference was running 10-15 minutes behind. C’mon. How can you lose 15 minutes during a 45-minute session? Poor preparation is the only reason.
*No listening! Because the organizers want to remain on track (see previous note), they have disallowed Q&A for the entire conference? These are teachers! Don’t they know that Q&A is how people learn? If I want to try and learn something in a one-way manner I’ll go to the YouTube Learning Channel.

Don’t you think that listening is where everyone should start? How else can you figure out how to respond, how to act and what to take away?

Let me know what you think. I’ll listen.