I’m currently participating in a Gordon Research Conference, at Bryant University, Smithfield, RI, where I was invited to speak about my research in SL. This has been a great honor, and I’m truly enjoying my time here; meeting a lot of very clever, nice, cool, and fun people from all sorts of different disciplines, and the industry in a very international setting – all people who are engaged in using “Visualization in science and education“.
Unlike previous conferences I’ve participated in, GRC’s have a strict “off the record” policy, meaning that we are not allowed to disclose information from the talks, poster sessions, informal discussions etc. Being used to sharing all sorts of information through various social media, this really is a very different approach to knowledge presentation and dissemination. I’m honestly feeling somewhat ambivalent about this; I appreciate the need for a “space” where you can actually present unfinished/unpublished ideas. On the other hand, the conference has brought together so many interesting and talented people, who present such cool projects, that my immediate response normally would be to share this with my network. Since the list of speakers is public information, we have agreed that it will be ok just to share general information – and this some of us are doing via the hash tag #grcviz2011. Despite the fact that this makes the title of this post an oxymoron, it really is an amazing conference, where I’ve gained a lot of new insights and ideas!
The beautiful Bryant U
Since the conference is cross disciplinary, I’ve once again been reminded just how different we approach research and justify knowledge, and in general perceive the phenomena we are investigating. Coming from a very strong qualitative research tradition, I’ve been puzzled and admittedly provoked by some of the more quantitative presentations I’ve seen – and I’m confident this works the other way round. This is, however, a very healthy thing, and if nothing else, I bring back a greater appreciation for mixed methods studies! And it has me thinking that we really need to research and come up with new and better ways of e.g. evaluating learning processes and their outcomes. In fact, I would say that I go home with more questions than answers, but again I think that is a very good thing … :-)