Monday Apr 28, 2008

PodCamp NYC & MOUSE.org

Talk about showing up at places and nobody knowing why you are there. PodCamp NYC is one of those events. Sure, there were a few who understood that we provide the backend infrastructure for those cool new Web 2.0 companies but why do we care about podcasting, among other Social Media technologies?

Tom Taylor and I manned the table representing Sun and explaining things like Startup Essentials, the Sun Web Analytics Solution and other upcoming technologies. We showed presentations of where and how Sun plays in this space and even had Second Life at Employee Island running for a bit (before the unconference wifi died).

We quickly realized that it would be beneficial for us to have more representation at these conferences including session attendees. So, I switched focus and sat in on several session where I made lots of new contacts.

The opening session was brief. They just wanted us to dive right into the unconference and make sure we understand the ground rules. This is our conference. There are no attendees, just participants. And, we are all bound under the Creative Commons sharing license.

Then it was down to business. The first session I attended was called Teachers Teaching Teachers and it discussed a weekly podcast used to show teachers how to use technology in the classrooms. What I found most interesting about this, as it relates to Sun, is the host used for these podcasts. It's called EdTechTalk and I believe that it would be an ideal forum for Sun to host a show called "Startup Essentials for Students". Additionally, I met some folks who work at Carrot Creative who are very interested in partnering with Sun on some startup initiatives. Overall, it was quite a productive session to attend.

The session on using technology for differentiated instruction was interesting because it talked about ways that technology can reached underserved populations, again feeding Sun's notion that helps bridge the digital divide. The Second Life: Shifted Learners session was quite amazing. A middle school teacher is using Teen Second Life in extraordinary ways to teach students about immigration, bring literature to life and learn about body image, among other things.

The afternoon sessions I attended were equally engaging. There was a session on Social Media and issues around safety and privacy. The big message here was transparency and to remember that you are the same person online vs. offline. The session on Education 2.0 spoke of ways to use 2.0 technologies in the classroom and in every day life. One women spoke about how she creates a wiki page for her holiday gift list and how she recruited (dragged?) her family into using it. The last session was about how organic adoption of social media is the best method for corporations. Social media works best when it is not a campaign! I believe Sun gets this message but it was nice to hear.

Overall, I think that our attendance at this event was both important for our presence alone and with our Platinum sponsorship even better and also important as a way to keep a pulse on what is going on in the industry.


Just wanted to add a few notes here about "Bring your child to work day". Overall, I think the day went well. We showed a Mitel demo to the children which they enjoyed. But, I think the highlights for them were the sessions on "Eco" and on gaming. In the afternoon we hosted several high school students from MOUSE.org, an organization that creates technology opportunities for underserved students. I presented Sun's vision to them and how we are utilizing Web 2.0 technologies to be more productive at work. Then two of the students presented to us. One about an inventory solution he worked on and the other about a wiki site he build for "One Laptop Per Child". It was great to hear these students presenting on something they were passionate about and then ensuing conversation that took place was insightful. One question that was posed to the students was what they would like to see out of Sun. The answers, like a "Web 2.0 Operating System", were quite interesting.

Ok, that's all for now....
Hope you enjoyed this review.

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robin

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