I'm not much of a contributor to mailing lists but I do read through some of the postings on the Oz-teachers list. There seemed to be very little about the recent ACEC08 conference in Canberra on the open web so I read some recent reflections with interest. One aspect of interest that came through in some of the reflections was an annoyance with delegates who chose to backchannel via twitter on laptops during some of the keynotes and presentations. Without directly quoting any of the responses, there was an opinion posed that these educators were lacking in professional respect, that they weren't paying attention to what was being presented and that their activities were distracting for other delegates.
Anyway, I thought I would throw the latter half of my posting here for the wider edublogger community to ponder at their whim.
I am one of those educators who will always have his laptop open (wireless availability and battery life permitting) and use the web to connect to points of interest that a speaker might be mentioning, pulling in resources that come to mind when something crops up, making notes, trading ideas with any backchannel that exists and yes, delving into my RSS reader if the presentation becomes irrelevant to my learning. I do this quietly, without fanfare and certainly am unsure how this activity can become a distraction to others. This methodology has actually made me a more attentive participant at any conferences that I've attended.
Although I did not go to ACEC, I would say that any ICT conference that has a mobiles off, laptops off policy is not one that I'd bother attending.
However, this is just my opinion. What do others think? Laptop backchannelling - the way modern educators make conferences relevant or just plain bad manners?
Are those of us who are laptop-toting social media addicts helpful to the future of professional learning or adding a complicated layer that just scares or annoys others?