We Didn’t Need Bricks and Mortar


This is the first of two or more posts I hope to write related to the recent (48 hours over the weekend from early morning Saturday July 31st to early morning Monday August 2nd in my timezone)  Reform Symposium Conference, #rscon10 as it is hashtagged on Twitter. For simplicity I will use the #rscon10 tag rather than write out in full every time.

I have deliberately not yet read anyone else’s blog posts on the conference because I wanted to write this from my own perspective and not let my impressions be coloured by others. My overall reaction has been Wow! Wow! and Wow again! When I came up with the title of “Who Needs Bricks and Mortar?” for my own Keynote presentation it didn’t occur to me that #rscon10 itself was going to:

  • reinforce for me;
  • perhaps bring home strongly to presenters, participants and;
  • spread the message to those that watch the archived Elluminate sessions;

that we really don’t need bricks and mortar anymore at least not in the sense of a physical place to meet for learning and networking.


The Conference

Firstly, all praise to the organisers Shelly (@ShellTerrell), Chris (@MrR0g3rs),  Kelly (@ktenkely) and Jason (@jasontbedell) you did a fantastic job! Organising a global conference over 48 hours and across multiple timezones is a logistical nightmare and you did it brilliantly with only a few minor glitches. It was wonderful to have something like this (other than our own national events) that had sessions at Australia friendly times – my only regret being all those terrific sessions that couldn’t catch live due to the fact that unlike Shelly I do need to sleep! Speaking of which I believe that Shelly was in and actively moderating almost every session, and she was tweeting during the 5 hour breaks! This probably just confirms what most of us think already ie that Shelly is an alias for superwoman.

As for the conference itself, the sheer intensity, immersive nature and sense of community and bonding generated by the experience has left me reeling, and I only attended a limited number of sessions! I’m also very familiar with virtual online conferences albeit not ones that run almost continuously for 48 hours. (The Australian Flexible Learning Framework has 2 day virtual conferences twice a year – just during daytime.) So I would guess that the impact has perhaps been even greater for those less familiar with this environment. My overall feelings and thoughts about the Reform Symposium Conference of 2010 are expressed through the  Wordle below.


I loved that Twitter became an integral part of #rscon10 in several ways:

  • people tweeting when sessions were due to start
  • snippets and summaries throughout sessions
  • plaudits and comments after sessions
  • also somewhere for presenters to share their nervousness and support one another

I loved the breadth from the visionary beginning with Steve Hargadon’s Keynote to the terrifically grounded sessions like Janet Bianchini’s about practical activities with students

I love the thought that I have lots of great sessions still to watch. It will take me weeks to catch up with the sessions I missed ie those that were during the night for us here in Western Australia, but it’s a bit like having specially yummy treats that will be stretched out and savoured over time.


This was a great weekend – the ripples are still (it seems to me) spreading. It has provided food for thought and reflection for a long time to come. I’m sure it will become (as it deserves to) an annual event, giving people more opportunities to network and learn. I’m excited and proud to have been part of this whole weekend.

2 thoughts on “We Didn’t Need Bricks and Mortar

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