Thursday, February 21, 2008

SCaLE 2008 Impressions and Photos

It's been a busy couple of weekends for me the past two weeks. Last weekend was Valentine's Day in NYC of course and the weekend before was the Southern California Linux Exposition (SCaLE) in Los Angeles.

I was fortunate enough to have my presentation on using Edubuntu in the classroom accepted for one of the sessions on the first day of the Expo and since this took place on Friday amidst an offshoot track of SCaLE called OSSIE (Open Source Software in Education) I got a substitute to cover my classes and drove the Towncar the two hours north to La La Land. I arrived at the Expo around noon which meant I had a couple of hours to hang out before I was due to talk. I spent a little time wandering around the event just seeing what there was to be seen. I'd say it was a smaller than average event but bigger than I expected, which was an exciting surprise.

After a few minutes I found myself a seat and listened to the speaker scheduled before me. I'm sad to say I forget her name now, but she was a doctoral student who used FreeMind in her research to see how concept maps changed information retention in students. I'm a little ashamed to admit that I was more involved in polishing up my own presentation than I should have been to pay ample attention to what she was saying, but as good as FreeMind looks I'm still pretty committed to using Internet based applications as much as possible. This means that sites like are a lot more attractive to me than software programs like FreeMind. The data that she had was very encouraging towards the use of mind maps in general though, so that was good news.

When it was finally my time to present I was relieved to see that my laptop worked on the projector without any major flaw, but I was disappointed to see that audience members couldn't post comments to my Google-based presentation which meant while I talked. Later I figured out that this was because I hadn't "published" the presentation, but that was hours later of course.

The presentation itself went pretty well. I was nervous as usual, which meant I talked even faster than I normally do and ended up doing my presentation in about 25 minutes (last time I did it at the SDCUE conference it took 45 minutes!). Fortunately there were a lot of questions from the audience and that saved me.

Afterwards I hung around outside the auditorium for a while and just chatted with colleagues (including Tim, the OSSIE organizer and an all-around great guy). Then I wandered over to the OLPC area and fiddled with the machines for a bit. I'm still waiting for mine to be delivered by the way. I had meant to take some pictures with my camera phone and post them here, but I forgot of course. The rest of the weekend I spent hanging around Santa Monica with my old college roomies and playing golf in Century City. Not a bad weekend at all! I look forward to next year!. -joe

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