Clash of cultures…

/ 8 November 2007

So here I am at Harvard, at a performance assessment in higher ed conference. It looks to be a fascinating 2.5 days of presentations and conversation. I was thinking it might be a great event to blog, since I imagine I’ll need to reflect and integrate what I’m learning.

BUT... when I asked tonight at dinner, whether there would be open wireless available in our meeting rooms tomorrow, the conference convener said he didn't really know, and in any case, we didn't need laptops for the meeting and probably should not bring them along. Indeed, wireless would probably only encourage us to do other things we shouldn't be doing -- which comment got a big laugh from the audience (which was composed primarily of college administrators of the baby boom generation). Instead, we should focus on being fully present.

Ay yi yi! I couldn't help wondering if this guy has ever functioned in a digital context? Why would he think I couldn't be fully present? Indeed, it seems to me that I might be MORE fully present, given the opportunity to stay linked to the outside world. They gave us a bibliography of resources, for instance, drawn from the Chronicle of Higher Ed and Inside Higher Education, both of which are publications I subscribe to and could easily access online. Why not make it an online bibliography? (Instead, here's the website they created for the program, proving that they could at least field a program specific website.)

Not to mention the benefits of blogging such an event, and sharing the learning more widely. But I suppose that might not be in this seminar's "best" interest, if they want to keep an exclusive claim on their very pricey seminar materials... So I suppose the question is: am I going to leave my laptop at the hotel, like a "good little girl" or take it with me? And further, to what extent does this deliberate disrespect of digital culture prejudice the way in which I might respond to the possible learning opportunities at this event?