The conference gets less and more mysterious

Let me first be very clear: this mystery conference in Jacksonville has actually turned out to be a pretty good thing. I went to some good panels this morning and this afternoon, I had some nice chats with various folks, mostly from the community college world, my presentation went pretty well, and I got to catch up a bit with at least one friendly face I recognized from the computers and writing conference world. So it has been a much better conference than I had expected, and I am looking forward to some of the sessions tomorrow.

But it has still been kind of weird.

First off, the sessions this morning that I attended had some pretty small audiences– which is fine, frankly. That’s typical for academic conferences, and I just kind of assumed this is kind of a small conference overall. But when I went to the luncheon banquet, I was rather surprised to see a rather large ballroom with somewhere around 800 or so people in it, complete with a big dais of distinguished people. It was odd; I was just wondering where the heck all these people came from.

Then there was the mini-monolith. Before the keynote speech by Marc Prensky (the first 20 minutes of which were pretty good; the second 20 minutes which were kinda problematic; and the last 20 minutes of which were probably unnecessary), they announced the awards for the conference. Now, one of the reasons I was sent by folks at EMU to this conference in the first place was that I was the EMU nominee for an “Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Technology.” So I knew I was going to get something, and I also knew that there was 40 or so other winners. But I wasn’t expecting this:

Mini-monolith 1

Mini-Monolith 2

This trophy is pretty cool, but it seems rather dangerous. It’s made out of marble, it’s about eight and half inches high and about three and a half inches in circumference, it is cut so it has a rather sharp point at top, and has got to weigh 10 pounds. Gian Pagnucci (a fellow winner, btw) and I were talking at dinner about this, and we both seriously wondered if you could actually take this thing onto an airplane in carry-on luggage. I mean, I have no doubt that you could most definitely brain someone with this thing if you really wanted to. I’m a little worried about what kind of damage it’s liable to cause in my checked suitcase.

Well, it’s the thought that counts, right?

Tomorrow, more mysteries await.

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