Tuesday, July 10, 2012

BbWorld Day 1: Rock on

Alrighty folks!  Day one at BbWorld and I'm ready to rock this conference.  I didn't get into town until just before the keynote (thanks to some kamikaze birds who decided to commit suicide in the plane's engine), but I have to say I really enjoyed Freeman Hrabowski's keynote.

This gentleman had so many inspiring things to say that I don't think anyone wasn't all jazzed up to move online mountains by the time he was finished speaking. And we're talking about a few dozen or so people too.

After Hrabowski's keynote, it was off to the reception and poster sessions.

Our group had two posters and we got a lot of traffic and discussion. I seriously think that we'll have to do a session next year.

Anyhow, here are some more first impressions:

Scavenger Hunt

Oh this is going to be a challenge. There are like 358 missions to complete and I have no idea if I can even get to them all.  And some are tricky in-and-of themselves in terms of how to post a proper picture (like posting a picture of Hrabowski upside down.  I mean, the man just would not stand on his head for me, and my phone kept 'righting' all the upside down pictures I took), but I'm game.  Currently I'm in 42nd place. Tomorrow: I'm shooting for #7.  That way I can just coast on up to first on Thursday.  We should all have such goals, right?

Reception/Poster Sessions

As I mentioned above I had a great time.  Oh, except for the speaker 10 feet from me playing at about 1000 decibels.  That part wasn't as fun.  But the huge shrimp cocktails and the chocolate-lavendar bars were delish!

Oh, and I found Wilfred...in case anyone was looking for him.

Tomorrow there are about a thousand sessions to pick from.  I hope I can find some time in there to blog, but I fear it will be a crazier busier day than today.

Happy conferencing...

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

BbWorld12 app: Get it now!

Ha!  Ask and you shall receive, right?

Yippee!  The BbWorld 12 app is available now.  You can search the iTunes store for it, or access it here.  I already downloaded it this weekend and had a few minutes to browsie, browsie...

Like the previous version, there are the usual suspects, but also a few new things.  Let's go through them, why don't we...

You can't seem to scroll through the list of attendees (total bummer for stalkers, but probably a good thing, you know, 'cause of stalkers) but if you know someone's name, you can look them up. 

You know you are going to look yourself up right now, so just go ahead.  I'll be doing the same thing while I wait.

Whew!  Quite a few sponsors listed here.  I count over 65!  Selecting one of the sponsors will show you more information about said sponsor, including who you can contact and what booth they will be at.  I'm showing the end of the list here, because let's face it all you Zalfred Zimmers out there, the Aaron Arnolds of the world always get top billing, so for once it's your turn for some glory.

I have worked with the fine people over at Intelecom for many years and am glad to see them at the conference once again...

If you click on the booth number on their info page, you get taken to the exhibit hall map and can see where they are located. Go visit them!

Cool.  This looks to be a entry to possibly win an iPad. I just filled it out and it was pretty easy.  Go enter now! (Or don't, so my odds of winning are better.)

This is a map of the exhibit hall and where you can find all the vendors.  Sadly you can't tap on a booth to see who's at that booth, but you if you know who you are looking for, you can search for them at the top.

This, my friends, is the meat of the app (in my opinion). Select what part of the conference you want to see sessions for (for example, BbWorld...)

And then select if you want to see all of them, or by:
  • Audience - Government/Military, Higher Education, K-12, Prof & Career Colleges, Not Audience Specific
  • Platform - Analytics, ANGEL, CE/Vista, Collaborate, Connect, Learn, Mobile, Student Services, Transact, Not Platform Specific
  • Role - Academic & Exec Officers, Academic Technologists, Developers, Enrollment & Admissions, Faculty & Teachers, Instructional Designers, IT Executive Leaders, Online Edu Prog Manag, System Admins, Training & Support Leads, Not Role Specific
  • Themes - Analytics in Action, Digital Content, Mobility, Other, Social Learning, Technology Adoption

Once you select your desired filter, you can browse the sessions and if you want to remember to go to that session you can add it to your calendar.

For me, I would add any session I went to to my calendar, because after so many sessions you tend to forget which ones you have been to, so it's a nice reference.

Read all about it here to see what's going on in the BbWorld.  I totally missed the deadline for the Jeopardy thing.  Guess I need to check it more often...

BbWorld photos will be posted here, but for now you will just find a few...

Your direct access to all videos BbWorld.  Some of these are quite interesting!

If you plan on twittering your way through BbWorld, this app has made it a whole lot easier to tweet and read other tweets.  Tweet away!

Check out BbWorld's Facebook page directly through this app to see what awesome things are being posted!

Scavenger hunt?!  Oh, it is ON!  This was the first thing I noticed when I got the app and I immediately signed up.

Currently I'm in first place (of course, so is everyone else), but I thought I'd savor it for the brief moment that it will be.  I can't wait to get started. I'm such a sucker for games.

Interested in Blackboard Mobile?  Fill out the form here and someone will get back to you.

Oh sure, much of this post may sound like a paid advertisement, but I assure you that I have not received any free iPads, gold doubloons, or tickets to see Maroon 5 live. 

I'm not beyond it, however.  Just sayin'.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

BbWorld App: Where Are You?

Whew!  I just downloaded the BbWorld 2012 Conference Program, and boy is my printer tired! It is 19 pages packed full of delightful sessions.  I don't know if you have had a chance to go look at it, so go on and get it. I'll wait....

Hum de dum....hm...let me see what's on the radio while I wait...    

[quietly singing] Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here's my number, so call me, maybe?

God I love that song! Man, the Beatles got nothin' on this chick!

Huh?  Oh, you back?  Awesome!

I missed you so bad. I missed you so, so bad... I just can't get it out of my head! You too, right?

But anyway...  Wow!  There are just so many sessions, I don't even know where to begin.  What I am hoping for, and keep checking for, is a BbWorld 12 app.  They had one last year and it rocked the conference!

You could look up other attendees, view the maps of the exhibition halls, and access information about the exhibitors.

But by far my favorite feature was the schedule.  They had all the sessions in there and you could add the ones you wanted to attend to your calendar.  And they were even divided up into categories so you could go to sessions that dealt with ANGEL or were focused on Instructional Designers. (I wonder if this year they will have a theme for Carly Rae fans.  Ohpleaseohpleaseohplease...)

Normally, I just try to scan through the list of sessions during breaks and go from there.  But have you seen the program?  Yes.  Yes, you have.  And you know that there are 15-20 concurrent sessions at any given time.  Are you really going to have time to read through all of those during every break?  No.  No, you are not.

So whenever this app comes out, grab hold of it and don't let go.  Install it.  Use it. Love it.  It is your friend.

I, for one, will be patiently waiting.

And all the other boys, try to chase me, but here's my number, so call me, maybe? Man that's good stuff!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Pre-Conference Packing Protips

Well alrighty then!  Sorry about the lapse in the blog.  I was confused about whether I was a blogger for the conference, but indeed it seems I am!  Of course, I get confused about a lot of things, so is it really all that surprising?

Ok then.  Let's get to it.

We are exactly 19 days away from BbWorld.  Nine. Teen. Have you started packing?  I haven't, but I'm thinking about some things I don't want to leave home without.

Of course, you want to pack your clothes, shoes, AND toothpaste if you want to look presentable. (C'mon folks, now's not the time to skimp.).  But let's not concern ourselves with such formalities.  Let talk about real tips.

1. Stick It To Them

Sure, you want to bring a fistful of business cards so everyone can see your really awesome job title, but you also need to bring labels.  Like this:

Print out a sheet or two of these bad boys and you'll be all set to enter every drawing for an iPod or tablet, rather than filling out your information 8 gazillion times.  I can attest to the brilliance of this idea because, while I have a 0% success rate of actually wining anything, I sure have saved myself a lot of time doing so. That's gotta count for something.

But in addition to swag drawings, it also works as an added backup if you run out of business cards.  After a long grueling day of handing out all 1500 of your cards, pull out these stickers and have the person who needs your info put it on their own card to refer to later. Many conversations have been started as a result of bringing out the stickers. Networking at it's finest.

2. Tag It or Bag It

Everyone and their uncle will most likely get a conference bag upon arrival.  How can you keep track of your super secret stuff in such a crazy world?  Well, Tip #2 is to bring along something to make your bag truly your own. You may have trouble getting bottles of fabric paint through airport security, so consider this alternative.  But first, a little background...

Back when I was a kid and would travel with my parents, I would scoff at the ugly yarn tassels that my mother had adorned our luggage with.  But upon luggage pickup, that obnoxious thing proved immensely useful.  Who knew?  (Well, apparently my parents.) At an instant we could pick out our stuff and be on our way.  That made an impression on me, and I still use that trick today when traveling since everyone has a black suitcase, and at conferences since everyone gets the same bag.

Tie one of these things on and it also works as an added theft deterrent.  I mean, really, who would want to be seen in public with something like this:

If you are all fresh out of yarn, any object will do.  The fashionable ladies may chose a nice scarf to tie around the strap.  The daring men may go for a classy Sponge Bob key chain.  Really, go crazy with it.

If you can't find anything to attach to your bag, bring a bag of your own.  I often take the previous years' bag with me (or one from another conference), since most people won't have the same thing and it will instantly identify me as "cool."  I often hear people whispering as I walk by with last year's bag say to their friend when they think I am not in earshot "Wow.  Did you see that bag?  She's done this before.  I totally want her autograph."  Or something like that.

3. What We Need Is More Cowbell (or power, as the case may be)

Ok, I don't know how many of your bring a lot of gear with you to conferences, but chances are you will have at least a laptop and phone.  Both need power.  How often have you been at a conference and some really cool chick already took the only spot right next to the outlet, right?  You're thinking "If I don't charge my phone I will diiiiiieeeee!"  Indeed, you really do run that risk.  But there's no way you can charge your phone with the outlet groupie already there.  I mean you can't run your 16" phone charging cable over her lap. (Or can you?  Hmmm. Try it sometime and let me know how it works out.)  BUT if you had an extension cord handy, you could run it under her chair and it would be out of the way. You get power.  The voltage vixen is not bothered.  Win. Win.

Sure, you are probably laughing at this tip.  But let me tell you, I was at a conference with a friend, and he had brought a power strip with him.  The four other people that were plugged in with him at any given time didn't seem to think it was a bad idea.  And it led to some very interesting contacts. More networking, just sayin'.

All right.  That's all the tips for today.  Feel free to share some of your own in the comments.  Soon I'll be talking more specifically about the conference itself.  It should be a great one!

Monday, May 07, 2012

May the best blogger win!

Phew! The Bb World VIP Blogger contest has closed and now our fates lie  
in the hands of some awesome, rockin' judges. Only a few more days until the
contest winners are announced, and hopefully my entry shows that I am just 
kind of blogger that they are looking for.

Meanwhile I will be pondering: If last year involved a rooster, what crazy  
escapades will be taking place this year in New Orleans?

It's really hard to sneak a rooster into this hotel
Image by kicki22

Monday, April 23, 2012

Countdown to glory!

Whew, only 17 days until the rockin' peeps at BbWorld announce their awesome decision for the It's Better Than Winning the Powerball contest.  I'm so excited I even have an 'event' on my calendar.

Looks like there is some decent competition shaping up, so to do my own shaping up I've decided that for every view on the blog (and/or vote in the contest) I'll add a mile to my semi-monthly run - up to, but not over 4.58 (I'm not a machine, people!)

Now, I know I've been a bit hung up on the idea of getting a t-shirt out of this, but don't get me wrong, I'm not in this whole thing just for the t-shirt.  Oh no!  There are other reasons I hope that I get picked to be the VIPBbWB, such as:
  1. "Non-transferable Free Pass to BbWorld 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana"
    Ok, really this one is for the school's accounting office, but why not bring joy to others, I always say.  Going to BbWorld and blogging is enough of a reward for me honestly (plus the t-shirt!).  By nominating me VIP Blogger, I can give the budget folks some joy for this conference. They thank you in advance!  Really, we all do.
  2. "Reserved seating in the keynote sessions"
    This clearly means I get to sit in the front row.  We all know that is where the cool kids sit, so not only will people know I am cool because of my t-shirt, but because I'm sitting in front of them.  The fact that I'll be hauling around my 15 pound OSCD (old school computing device) some may refer to as a "laptop"...say it with me: laaaaaptoooop (Good!) ... may confuse everyone at first, but will be immediately dismissed by my presence in front of them (and also the t-shirt).
    (Someone please take pity on me and buy me an iPad...Pretty please? With a cherry on top?  Seriously, I have a whole jar of cherries here.)
  3. "Back-stage access to our keynote speakers and Blackboard leaders" 
    I've never had backstage passes to anywhere before, unless you count being allowed to go into the Employee Only area of Kroger so my kid could use the bathroom.  How cool would it be to get back-stage access to meet Curtis Bonk, Tom Caswell, Marco Torres, Eric Sheninger, and Freeman Harbowski and share a Sprite with them?  We can discuss all the latest Blackboardy stuff while talking trash about the recent Hunger Games movie (and admiring my t-shirt).
  4. "Profiled on Blackboard’s blog in the weeks leading up to BbWorld 2012"
    Really, if this were all I were to get, then I think I've already won.  As I mentioned earlier, the fame and fortune from all of the exposure I'd get from being VIPBbWB is worth its weight in gold.  (Or t-shirt/iPads, as that's the currency some of us prefer.)
  5. "All bloggers will receive a BbWorld blogger badge and t-shirt."
    Booyah!  There it is folks!  Ok, I lied earlier when I said it was all about the t-shirt.  It's all about the t-shirt and badge!  A badge?!  How did I miss that before?  We all know that with the badge I would certifiably be cool. But really, you all had me at "t-shirt."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I wonder...

I wonder if the wonderful people at Blackboard World are reviewing all the entries in the I Wanna Rule the World contest and exclaimed "Goodnight everybody!" the moment they saw mine....

I wonder if all the youthful, beautiful/handsome, but clearly intellectual judges are totally impressed with my entry for 1) originality 2) promptness 3) awesomeness and 4) featuring a really cute girl that would rock their t-shirt...

I wonder if those who wield the power wisely realize that by electing me to Most Awesome Blogger, as someone who also happens to be doing two poster sessions while at the conference, that they will be guaranteed to get some really fun, insightful, even interesting posts during the conference...

I wonder if the generous and kind and thoughtful leaders realize that I am writing this post while holding a 23-month-old child who is swinging a very solid wooden mixing spoon, yet managing to still spell every word right and not even cuss out loud...

I wonder if the keepers of the key realize that I almost collected all the pins last time and will be on a mission to do so this year, and of course, being the BbWorld Uber Blogger, I will be favored by the gods to earn the title of Pin Queen...

Please do not deny me.