Friday, April 1, 2011

Follett's 'A New Leaf in Learning' conference (Pt. 1)

Chicago-style deep dish pizza from the origina...Image via WikipediaI was lucky enough to be able to attend the first annual Follett user conference in Chicago a few weeks ago and was really impressed by both the speakers and the new products introduced at the conference.
Mid-March in Chicago can be a bit intimidating for we coastal-California types but fortunately, even though the temperatures were in the high 20s and low 30s, there was no precipitation (snow, sleet, hail!) and so it was really a pleasant experience environmentally. After an all-day flight to O'Hare International through Cincinnati, I arrived in time to catch the tale end of the opening evening reception with music provided by a local high school band. I checked in to the hotel (Fairmont Millennium Park) and went out to dinner at Uno's Pizzeria which I had passed on the shuttle trip into town. Uno's is a Chicago institution and is one of the places where deep-dish pizza is said to have been invented. After a bit of a wait (even on a Wednesday night) I enjoyed a great pizza and walked back to the hotel about a half-mile away. Needless to say, my face was pretty frozen.
The next morning the keynote speaker was Donald Tapscott who has written extensively about the digital generation. Two of his more important books are Growing Up Digital: The Rise of the Net Generation (1997) and Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World (2008). His most recent book is Macrowikinomics: Rebooting Business and the World (2010). His presentation featured a slideshow outlining what has learned over the years about the need for a new model for business and education based on "collaboration, openness, stewardship and the power of the social web." It was definitely a relevant introduction to the rest of the day-and-a-half in Chicago.
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