Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I Wanna Be A Geek Rockstar

I can hardly believe it has already been a week since I returned from San Antonio. When I left I had three or four good posts brewing in my head, but recovering from my lack of sleep (I’m a terrible hotel dweller) and Fourth of July weekend at the lake pushed much of my initial takeaways out and up. If I was more like my geek rockstar friend Wesley Fryer, I’d have posted right away and along the way. Oh well, here’s what has solidified and gelled over the past week. I am writing this somewhat chronologically, but a few experiences are out of order.

The days leading up to NECC this year were very interesting with all the talk about whether or not Twitter would be up to the job, if there would be enough bandwidth for all the live streaming and 1000’s of laptop toting attendees and presenters. The buzz before the conference about ISTE’s new podcasting policies and the subsequent revision of that policy really demonstrated the power of the blogs and online discussions.

I arrived in San Antonio about 6:30 p.m. Friday and met my two friends/colleagues Vicki Allen and Linda Uhrenholt at the baggage claim. We picked up the rental car and headed to the hotel. That first night we ate at Rita’s on the River Walk and went back to the hotel.

I presented a pre-conference workshop on using mobile phones in the classroom Saturday morning which meant I missed most of the EduBloggerCon, but kept up on twitter with the topics and the Pearson controversy. Just a few years ago, the suggestion of using mobile/cell phones in the classroom for learning was strictly taboo. At the NECC 2008, eight sessions highlighting the use of cell phones with students were presented.

Sunday morning, I met Wes Fryer at the River Center part of the River Walk for breakfast after which we headed to the Bloggers' Café, found a couple of chairs and started sharing cool new applications. We were soon joined by Nina Zolt and Joyce Valenza. Nina showed us the coolest little USB travel speaker available from Amazon. Joyce shared with us some of her projects.

Several people said hello to Wes and Joyce while we sat together. As always Wes made sure he introduced me asking, “Do you know Karen Montgomery?” Most of the time the answer was, “No,” but a few said, “I know of her.” This was my first encounter with people who knew me from my online presence – Twitter, guest blogging for Wes.

Sunday afternoon, I caught up with Wes again. Actually, he sent a text message me that he was going to the Residence Inn for the TX welcome BBQ. I later found out this is also known as Ribfest and that the Gourmet Geeks and all the cooks were using Mogulus to broadcast live.

I have read several blogs recapping NECC in which mentioning specific names has been avoided so as not to forget anyone. To frame this, I need to fast forward to the next day in the Bloggers’ Café. I saw Kevin Honeycutt and decided to introduce myself. Kevin and I are twadds or mutual followers on Twitter and I knew he was among the group that drove from Kansas Ustreaming along the way. As I walked away, someone else ran up to Kevin and did the same. Kevin turned to his companion and said that only at NECC could a geek be a rockstar. This really struck me and for the remainder of the conference I kept pointing out all the “geek rockstars” to my friends. Thanks, Kevin. So at the Ribfest, Wes continued to be his gracious self, introducing me to geek rockstars such as Jeff Utecht, Bud (Hunt) the Teacher (actually Bill Bass was responsible for that introduction), David Jakes (I actually met him earlier this year at METC and earlier that day), Dean Shareski (I skyped in to one of his FETC sessions as a last minute fill-in, but had never met him), Ewan McIntosh, Cheryl Oakes, Sheryl Nussbum-Beach, Lisa Parisi and Stephanie Sandifer. I met all the rib cooks, but did not catch their names and I may have left people out, so if they feel they should have been mentioned on this list, please add a comment and let me know.

Monday morning I met Brad Gessler, co-founder of Poll Everywhere. We have talked on the phone and corresponded by e-mail for the past several months. I am a huge fan of Poll Everywhere and it was great to meet Brad and learn more about his startup.

Monday afternoon Wes, Vicki Allen and I presented a session entitled “Digital Storytelling Made Simple with VoiceThread.” Despite some heavy competition, Liz Kolb was presenting about cell phones to standing-room-only in the next room, we had a full house. A geek rockstar like Wes draws a large crowd and Vicki and I became “geek rockstars by proximity.”

On Tuesday morning, I arrived in the Emerging Technologies Lounge at 7:00 a.m. to record Episode 7 of the Technology Shopping Cart with Brad Gessler and Wesley Fryer Wes arrived with Miguel Guhlin and so I met another geek rockstar I follow on Twitter. The Ustream webcast did not work, so we just recorded the audio. The discussion was about iPhones applications and Poll Everywhere. Just as the conversation turned to safety and security, Wes invited Kevin Honeycutt to add his thoughts.

After the podcast, Wes and I headed to our poster session on VoiceThread. Mysteriously, when we arrived at our table, there was a stack of color VoiceThread handouts. As Wes showed VoiceThreads and talked about the application to a crowd of about 30 people, someone walked up to me and introduced himself as Randy Rodgers and said he just wanted to meet me and put “a face with a name.” Randy and I are twadds on Twitter. Now who’s a geek rockstar? When someone asked about using VoiceThread for math, I started to talk about Math24/7 and mentioned Tim Fahlberg. At this point a hand shot up and a man said, “I’m Tim Fahlberg.” We invited him up to share his project. Tim was our guest on Episode 2 of the Technology Shopping Cart, but again we had never met in person.

Tim hung around until our poster session was finished and told me that the creators of VoiceThread, Steve Muth and Ben Papell had a booth in the exhibit hall. The mysterious handouts now were explained. Steve and Ben were the guests on Episode 4 of the Technology Shopping Cart and as is the norm, I had not yet met them in person. Here were two more of my geek rock stars and after finding their booth had a great evening learning all about their startup while enjoying some good Mexican food at La Fonda on Main, not on the Riverwalk.

In my estimation to be a geek rockstar is a compliment and here is my tribute:

Geek Rockstar
(To the tune of Rockstar by Nickelback)


I'm through with being online on sites without a login
Only wanna web surf on sites that have a sign in
I’m gonna write the Internet just the way I want it to be

(Tell me watchya want)

I want a brand new iPhone with GPS built-in
And an high def webcam so you can see me grin
And a king size studio big enough for ten plus me

(Tell me watchya need)

I'll need a
Tech budget that's got no limit
And a big black case with 3 computers in it
All set to blog and podcast at thirty-seven thousand feet

(Been there, done that)

I want a new avatar that’s a little bizarre
My browser displaying every single toolbar
Yahoo, Diigo, Delicious and Google is fine with me

(So how you gonna do it)

I'm gonna use this laptop for streaming and posting
I'll even upload to YouTube and set up web hosting

'Cause we all just wanna be geek rockstars
And live our lives online writing fifteen blogs
A Ustream channel and gadgets that beep
We'll all stay skinny as we’ll use our Wiis
And we'll
Hang out on the coolest sites
With our friends and followers almost every night
Every education techie will wind up there
Every edublogger with an opinion to share and well,
Hey hey I’ll be a geek rockstar
Hey hey I’ll be a geek rockstar

I wanna work with schools that have no hassles
‘Bout using technology in all their classes
We’ll work on changing the focus back to learning and pedagogy

(I'll have it pedagogically, haha)

I'm gonna dress my site with the latest widgets
Add weather, clocks, calendars and the latest from Feedjit
Gonna know whose spending time reading my blog posts other than me

(So how you gonna do it)

I'm gonna use this laptop for streaming and posting
I'll even upload to YouTube and set up web hosting

'Cause we all just wanna be geek rockstars
And live our lives online writing fifteen blogs
A UStream channel and gadgets that beep
We'll all stay skinny as we’ll use our Wiis
And we'll
Hang out on the coolest sites
With our friends and followers almost every night
Every education techie will wind up there
Every edublogger with an opinion to share
And we'll
Hide out in conference ballrooms
With the tech support and web’s who's who
We'll talk about the issues that we think are worthwhile
Show all the latest info we’ve been able to compile, well
Hey hey I”ll be a geek rockstar

I'm gonna write those books that inspire my readers
Gonna be considered one of the great education leaders
Get paid to be the keynote all yearlong
Practice my presos so I don't get'em wrong

'Cause we all just wanna be geek rockstars
And live our lives online writing fifteen blogs
A Ustream channel and gadgets that beep
We'll all stay skinny as we’ll use our Wiis
And we'll
Hang out on the coolest sites
With our friends and followers almost every night
Every education techie will wind up there
Every edublogger with an opinion to share
And we'll
Hide out in conference ballrooms
With the tech support and web’s who's who
We'll talk about the issues that we think are worthwhile
Show all the latest info we’ve been able to compile, well
Hey hey I”ll be a geek rockstar





10 comments:

Wesley Fryer said...

This is a great recap, Karen! It was fun to do so much together at NECC this year, and it was AMAZING to make so many new connections.

A "geek rock star," eh? I love the lyrics btw. I think you're already there, my friend! Now you just need to add the music and release this on CCMixter. :-)

Randy Rodgers said...

Karen,

Your first groupie--no one will ever be as special as the first! It was great meeting you--I wish we could have had time to visit more. I love the song and always enjoy your blog posts. Keep up the great work!

BTW, I just penned my own geeky song last night, to the tune of Friends in Low Places. I'm going to wait to debut it at the end of the month at a conference I'll be speaking at, though. Should be either very entertaining or very embarrassing! Be sure to let us know when the music video is ready! :)

Anonymous said...

Did you know you can buy the instrumental karaoke version and http://www.karaoke-version.com/en/mp3-backingtrack/nickelback/rockstar.html and then record a group singing it. Have fun!

Stacey said...

I am soooo your groupie!!!!

Stacey

JulieB said...

I want to be a groupie too! This is great Karen!

Julie Barchenski

Brad said...

I was blown away at the usage of technology at NECC (Especially with Wes, he must have 3 hands with the amount of great content he publishes on his blog!)

I develop the Poll Everywhere web application every day and thought I was pretty web savvy until I rolled into NECC.

SteveM said...

You have got everything needed to be a true geek rock star, and then some. Thanks for sharing some behind the scenes knowledge of NECC, it was really invaluable. I think Twitter should make an exception for you and let have a hundred and fifty characters, at least;)

Al said...

I want to be a geek rock star!

Sheila said...

I'm a little more Geek than rockstar. Thanks for making us miss NECC even more. Hope to meet you at NECC09 in D.C.
SheilaT

smadlinger said...

Karen,
During NECC I was my own geek rockstar back in St. Louis on Twitter getting all the podcasts & ustreams! I along w/Cindy Lane & Colin Davit did our own "geek squad" stuff. It was a very unique experience attending virtually! I missed the f2f bit, so guess I remain just a geek.

Babel Fish

DISCLAIMER

Karen Montgomery is the author of Gomeric Hill. The opinions expressed herein are mine and not necessarily those of my employer.