Friday started with a bang, a dynamic silent bang. The snow came and came and came; I barely slept all night thinking “will I make it downtown on time for my presentation at 11:30?” So, I got up at 4:45am to in order to make the 6:14am train out of Waukegan. After a shower, the phone rang at 5:30am and my school had a snow day, but not for me, I am going to THE Midwest Clinic. I promptly got dressed and my husband drove me to the train as the snow was increasing at a record rate. Gladly, I made the train and off to “my people” at the Midwest Clinic.
Remarkably, the train was on time as we reached Ogilvie Transportation Center, I slowly trudged through the snowdrifts and flagged down a cab to the Chicago Hilton. Ever since I have left the academic world of Hughes Hall at Ohio State University I miss the sounds of music all around me. That was the first thing I noticed as I walked into the Chicago Hilton on Friday morning, the sound of scales, songs, and doodling around. I was with “my people.” AHHHHH….
The moment I got to my room to present, I met and connected with other musicians. That is the wonderful thing about musicians, we connect, we talk, and we experience the best about life, the personal relationship to collaborate and bond. You have to collaborate, how else would you perform with others? I met up with some wonderful individuals that wanted to shift musicians into the web 2.0 world of social networking and sharing.
As I always do, I sit in the same room before I present, no matter what it is. First, I feel physically connected to the room and second, I have found some wonderful presentations due to this method. The presentation before me was concerning using the Elmo and the use of a big screen in a band room environment. It was an outstanding presentation by Joel Mason “Wasting Away in “Obsolete-A-Ville” – Changing Attitudes about Technology in the Instrumental Rehearsal Room. He showed ways of using an Elmo and a projector within band rehearsals, hopefully, other musicians will take the risk and use a variety of technology within their classroom.
My presentation concerning web 2.0 was the only presentation that really required internet. I had an AT&T internet card just in case the internet was not accessible at the conference AND I had done screen shots of all the websites. To my horror, I could not get my internet card to work within the room, on to plan B – get internet. I requested that I needed internet to the “tech” support for the room. They immediately came, with an ethernet cord in hand, noted that it would cost me $600 for the day. But, I told them I only needed it for an hour. “It doesn’t matter, it is $600 for the day and $200 every day after that.” Needless to say, I did not pay; I would use screenshots for my presentations, Plan C. This is incredible that a conference doesn’t have internet access. The only flaw, the Hilton Chicago does not offer internet connections, so no internet.
Now onto my presentation. I always try to talk to the “early” attendees and find out how much they know about web 2.0, where they are teaching, because it makes me feel more connected to the audience if I talk so some of the attendees before I actually begin. It was a group of educators at the beginning of their “techie” career. I got the sense that many did not know much of what I was going to talk about and this was going to be a new experience they would experience. As soon as I asked the question “how many know what web 2.0 is?” and only ONE hand went up, I dramatically changed up my presentation to simple and easy, not expanding upon higher-level web 2.0 technologies. I did my presentation allowing for ten minutes of questions and five minutes of getting out early (everyone likes getting “out” early, it feels like you have won the lottery.)
I really enjoyed all the attendees that came up to talk to me that expressed an attitude that they would “try” one of the many things within web 2.0. I quickly packed up; I had one more errand to do before I caught the train home – tickets to Mary Poppins for my Christmas gifts. I always give the gift of theater. We, as music educators, must always support the arts. I quickly got to the train and began to process what an incredible snow day I had, compared to my students, parents, and fellow educators at my school had today. It was a long day, but I loved it. I wish I could have spent more time at other sessions, but given the weather it was not in the picture. This is my third time at Midwest and I love it every time. It is my Christmas gift to myself; I am with “my people,” with people who want to create and connect using a vast amount of harmony and of course, noise.
Finally, the twitter was extremely gracious to me and many have DM or emailed me how much they enjoyed the session.