Monday, 29 June 2009

M-Libraries 2009 – The Round-Up

Last week I was in Canada for the m-Libraries Conference 2009…so was the 13 hour travelling time worth it…was the jet-lag an okay price to pay…were the extensive call charges back to the UK worth their money…OF COURSE!! I have not been to many residential conferences but I would have to say that m-Libraries have really pulled it out of the bag. Previously I have had experiences of being ‘conference snubbed,’ that is, you begin talking to someone, when they find out you are not quite of the stature they had anticipated they hastily make their excuses to go and find someone that more suits their ‘mould.’ M-Libraries was not at all like this, other delegates were genuinely interested in hearing about my work and there was a sense of solidarity amongst delegates in their quest to adopting more mobile futures within their institutions. Everyone was keen to share knowledge and experience and that is something that will stay with me for a very long time.

The conference was organised yet laid-back. Let me explain. The registration desk staff were always extremely helpful in advising delegates on the UBC Campus, m-Libraries Conference or Vancouver itself. They knew what was happening and where and were always happy to help. There were tours to attend, an evening trip out to Granville Island and a Conference Banquet. There were bountiful breakfasts of baked goods (not good for the waistline!), plenty of fresh fruit and local produce and lots and lots of strong black coffee!! The days were packed with numerous sessions in which delegates were free to chose which path they would like to follow – you didn’t have to book into particular sessions, you could do as you pleased. There was a fun Twitter back channel tweeting the event – through which I met new Twitter friends, and actually got the chance to meet in person with a few ‘old-time’ tweeters that I’ve been in contact previously with. There was no mad rush for the dinner queue with elbows out as with some conferences, nor was there actually much of a wait time as everyone ambled along, talking to old friends and new.

I presented on the second day of the conference and was pleased to have attracted a friendly looking crowd – many of whom I’d sat with over breakfast, lunch or tea and already given insights into my research – it was lovely to have their support.

The sessions I attended were thought-provoking. During the conference I realised how well we’ve done at LJMU in actually trying to drive a more mobile agenda forwards…I would say we are now at the forefront of this m-learning group which is obviously brilliant for us as an institution. Furthermore, this gives us the opportunity to lead the way, rather than simply follow others. Already, I have several contacts who would like to read the project report and follow up bits and bobs from the conference. The second strand of the m-learning research (student support with mobile devices) has also really created a stir with a lot of people requesting access to the second report when it is finished.

The m-Libraries experience has really raised my confidence in my own ability. I had a lovely time, met some lovely people and hope to keep in touch with lots of them, helping to raise the profile of the m-learning project as much as possible.

The m-Libraries week was a funny old week. There I was half way across the world, in a brand new country, presenting at an International Conference, I had notification that I had been awarded a 1st for my MSc dissertation – I was on a mid week high. Then the following day whilst sat at the airport waiting to return home, the tragic news of Michael Jackson’s sudden passing flashed up on a TV screen. I think it would be imprudent to gloss over such a monumental moment in history, even though it does not directly relate to the m-Libraries Conference, I will never forget where I was when I found out Michael Jackson had died.

And on that note, I must say a massive thank you for Sue Thompson for her continued support of the m-learning research, without her faith in the project and kindness I would never have been given such an amazing opportunity……

1 comment:

  1. ..and where was I when I heard the news about Michael Jackson...on a bus to Simon Fraser University for the Gala Conference Dinner for the conference I was attending in Vancouver at the same time (World Associaton of Cooperative Education and Work Integrated Learning) and how did I hear- a text from my daughter at home in England. What a conincidence given that Vicki and I work in the same university in the UK! Really pleased that you enjoyed the conference and that people were so interested in your work. Not surprised though, it has been a great project which we've been really happy to support (nice to be thanked though Vicki!). I think what you experienced at UBC and we did at Simon Fraser was amazing Canadian hospitality.