Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Producing an Event = Producing Content

As we are counting down to our big Digital Revolution event tomorrow night, we've suddenly been energized by the live broadcasting features, discussed in our last two posts, that will enhance our live event. The realization I had about this today was that an event is not just a culminating thing or a networking opportunity; it's an opportunity to focus and create content that will endure beyond the event itself. We already knew this with respect to each of the presentations that groups were putting together (all of which have an accessible, permanent component to them). What we hadn't considered, though, was the event itself becoming enduring, valuable content as it is preserved and used by future online visitors.

Eric Collyer posted this trial video on his account today to demonstrate how it is that we will be able to upgrade the broadcast stream with titles and by plugging in the media directly (like the music video he inserts) rather than drawing just on the camera's poor reproduction of it.

Watch live video from ericgcollyer on

Wow, this thing is suddeny going to look more professional. What does that do? As we show this to the students before our dress rehearsal in the morning, I think it will motivate them to bring their A-game, since they are not doing an end-of-term academic thing; they are producing permanent content for the web.

This sort of thing also makes me think about creating events with features that play more to the future audiences who come across the archive of the event rather than just the live audience that comes. For example, if we can put titles up, what about weblinks to the resources we discuss? Things like that.

Eric also wrote me regarding some blank time that will occur during the broadcast due to a break in the two-hour event we've just planned into the program. Here's his suggestion:
Dr. Burton,
During the broadcast, there will be two blank spaces. One during the "Digital Literacy Without Borders" presentation. And then the other will be during the break. I was thinking we could get two videos to spotlight during that section. Our group has a documentary like video we could show during one of the spaces, and perhaps the documentary group has a longer video? Your thoughts?
My reply:
Hmmm. Very interesting. Let's ask the class tomorrow. This has to do with the more general issue of how we involve the virtual (and future) audiences. I can think of  a few possibilities in addition to the ones you mention. First of all, one could film the crowd (not a bad idea, showing the energy in the room as people discuss digital learning). Another idea would be to have a host who conducts an online discussion over Skype or something -- an effort to approximate among the virtual visitors what will be happening during the "learning mixer" we've planned for the intermission period.
Of course, I'm wishing we'd had more time to develop material for our virtual and future audiences. This is the way of the future, of course. And as I think of all of the live events that educational institutions host (from university-wide forums to regular class periods), it makes you realize all the untapped potential of packaging educational events for the broader range of participants (live and future) who can find value in these events.