Je ne ReLIVE rien
I don't suppose that the title of this post comes close to meaning anything in reality! What it means in the very personal virtual world of InsideMyHead is, "I didn't go to the ReLIVE conference at the OU last week but I wish I had" :-). Why? Because it looks to have been a great success. Certainly if Roo Reynold's excellent final keynote, a summing up of what happened over the two days, is anything to go by.
Having watched Roo's summing up, I tweeted that every conference needs one of these kinds of closing talks - particularly so where you are trying to amplify the event to people who are not attending in person. Cliff Lynch often performs a very effective similar function at digital library events.
InsideMyHead didn't feature of course, not least because the orientation experience is so poor that absolutely no-one makes it through :-). No surprises that, based on the little that I saw, it looks like Second Life predominated. Despite a couple of recent calls to knock our obsession(?) with Second Life on the head (here and here), it remains (quite rightly in my humble opinion) the primary focus of our attention as far as the use of MUVEs to support learning is concerned.
There is only one point at which I take mild exception to Roo's talk. Towards the end he shows an image of the in-world venue that the OU had created for the event and says something like, "there was a virtual backchannel for this event... but this wasn't it", referring instead to the widespread use of Twitter made by conference delegates. Well, I can't argue with that - I wasn't there after all. What I would say though is that, as a partial remote attendee, I would have much preferred for the talks to have been streamed in-world (rather than on the Web) so that those of us wanting to take part remotely could have used in-world chat as our own back-channel. Twitter probably worked very well as the back-channel for those delegates "in the room" (though I have a strong personal dislike for the use of Twitter as a live-blogging channel because it lacks any sensible filtering mechanism and there is wittering (sorry, I mean twittering) that I simply do not want to listen to in large volumes :-).
Of course, Second Life wouldn't have worked well as a back-channel for those people in the room, not least since having lots of people trying to run Second Life over a wireless network is pretty much doomed to failure, but also because if you are immersed in a RL conference, then trying also to become immersed in a virtual world probably isn't very helpful.
So there's a problem... Second Life would have worked better (IMHO) for those of who were remote but Twitter (or something similar) worked better for those in the room. What we needed was some kind of bridge between the two - allowing conversations to happen across all the participants.
This wouldn't be hard to do technically (there are a number of Twitter repeaters available in Second Life, including one that I built some time ago) but there are probably organisational and cultural issues to address.
Anyway... this is more "thinking out loud" than complaining or anything. My gut feeling is that hybrid physical/virtual meetings are going to feature significantly in our future and that thinking about how best to facilitate them is best done sooner rather than later.