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Liveblogging: Stephen Downes in Buenos Aires

Edited on May 8th.

Yesterday morning I attended the presentation Stephen Downes gave at Fundación Telefónica in Buenos Aires. Slides, video and audio.

I had many times participated in other blogger's liveblog, but I had never experienced being the liveblogger. As the conference proceeded, I found myself shifting roles in the way I blogged.

At first, I had the idea of an audience in mind. Probably I had a memory of myself being a remote enthusiastic participant at the other end of a screen, curious about the experience inside the conference room. The first role was the reporter of the event. A window for a remote audience to peep into.

I tweeted the link. I realised people were probably lurking, pondering whether to join me to say something or not. I moved a step away from that in my mind. Having read Stephen since 2006, the talk was familiar at first; however, the wording of the message was new at times and it started to engage me. I tried to separate what I heard from Stephen from my own thought sketches by enclosing mine in parenthesis. I became a side commentator. When this kind of involvement with ideas happens -generally when I blog- I feel a need to turn off the music and make my room as quiet as possible. At this point, the thought that viewers could interrupt me with their own reactions to the video streaming suddenly made me uneasy.

I had to choose. Should I continue writing for an audience or just for myself? I stopped checking the Twitter tab on my netbook. I had a good view of Gabriela Sellart's screen sitting next to me. I could see her exchanging thoughts with Diego Leal from Colombia. I felt that was enough. I stayed in an inner network circle, an echo chamber perhaps. Most viewers were busily sharing tweets as well as noisy (by which I mean, uncommented) re-tweets and tagging them #downesba. A tag I had suggested in Facebook to join teachers who would like to meet Stephen for an informal talk, accidentally became the tag of Stephen's visit to Argentina, not just Buenos Aires. It conveniently became a stream to gather ideas separately from my liveblog. A place to visit later.

I went into blogger mode. Involved in semi-private reflection. Trying to extract new meaning to a message I had heard many times before. Obtaining meaning for me is like going for a ride on a carrousel (1). You go round and round seeing the same places from your own movable centre. Sudden changes in perspective make the known seem unknown again. The man standing and taunting the children with the key to a free ride prize is always standing at the same corner doing what he dexterously does. Going round and round is no guarantee you will get it. There I was sitting and blogging about connectivism again.

The value of this experience I share may probably be strictly personal. This liveblog documents the shifting focus of attention of my mind, from a word spoken to portions of Stephen slides, through emergent flashbacks of the days when I studied Chomsky's generative grammar and back to the speaker. At times, the tip of the iceberg of a question appeared. I was lucky to be able to relax at the brief question time. Stephen would meet with a few twitterers later in the afternoon for an informal talk, so I saved my questions for later. More about that, when Stephen shares the recording of that meeting.

The following are my raw notes. Reflection posts will follow.

Note on the tool used. I unsuccessfully tried to pull in the hashtag #downesba into the stream of the liveblog. Just one tweet made it. Perhaps it was a limited feature in the free version of the tool.

(1) The metaphor of the carrousel is a stretch from the way the writer Juan José Saer describes the experience of writing. I've been playing with it in my blog in Spanish.

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Hi Claudia!

I've arrived here thanks to Carla Raguseo, with whom I'm taking an online course -WELL 1.

I've spent the last half hour or so feeling as if I were actually listening to Stephen Downes, with the bonus of sharing your reflections while doing so. Congrats on a great post!

By the way, Coveritlive looks like an amazing tool.


Thank you Mary for letting me know about your silent presence. Next time, feel free to jump into the conversation.

The tool is quite comfortable to use. However, I will need to back up my notes elsewhere. You never know how long things will be hosted on a free version of a tool which has commercial purposes.

I am aware of the recurrent visits to this blog from you and your classmates via Statcounter ;-)
Hopefully, you have taken a commenter leading step others may follow...

Carla tells me there will be a blogging module where you will post in the open. I'll try to join your conversations there.

Now that you mention the time spent, here's a good place where I like spending half an hour.

Thanks for doing this - I've added a link from http://www.downes.ca/presentation/251

Thank you, Stephen.

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