I Love Your Work
Due to the nature of Open Education, it's common to 'know' someone by their virtual persona long before you meet that person...in person. We'd established some virtual contact with a lot of fellow participants via email, Facebook and Twitter, but it's been great to finally be able to put faces to names (and avatars).
We were very excited to finally meet David Wiley, organizer of this conference, Associate Professor of Instructional Psychology and Technology at nearby Brigham Young University, TED presenter and devoted open ed enthusiast. Dr. Wiley founded the Open High School of Utah and holds the position of Chief Openness Officer at another open ed initiative we love, Flat World Knowledge. We're happy to report that he's as kind, funny and passionate about open education in person as he seems on the web.
Also, after much Twitter and Facebook communication, we made actual face-to-face contact with the team from Saylor.org. We love their Open Textbook Challenge and of course admire their mission to make a college education an option for all. It's always exciting to encounter other organizations who are striving to achieve the same goals that we are.
Game-Changers and Power-Players
We met with Joel Duffin and Justin Ball, CEO and CTO of OERGlue. They've made great strides toward increasing access to open education resources by developing an innovative platform to help teachers create 'mashups' of existing OER content. Joel and Justin explained that they hoped their platform would not only increase teacher access to OER, but also allow students to learn how to interact with web content and build effective web personas.
Finally, we're afraid someone on our team may have geeked out a little over two of our open textbook heroes: Nicole Allen from StudentPIRGS and Eric Frank, President and Co-Founder of Flat World Knowledge. They're two highly in-demand figures, but we've managed to schedule some time to chat with both of them before we head home Thursday afternoon. Keep checking back for interviews with them and many other power players here at the conference.