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Back from Blackboard

July 19th, 2011

What an eye-opener being at Blackboard’s Bb World conference. It’s like Disneyland for people at all levels of education. It takes place in Las Vegas, which is adult Disneyland already.  So many concurrent sessions that even the good ones couldn’t fill the house.

I had the opportunity to meet with folks from the Board of Directors of Blackboard, as well as the CEO (great guy); university experts, K-12 movers and shakers like Dr. Rudy Crew and the list goes on and on!

Some of the highlights:

- Learning about the mobile analytics system at Stanford.  Amazing!

- Watching a university demo an iPad only class on Economics, relying on various software to provide real-time feedback mechanisms.

- Watching CEO’s and other leaders demo the latest Blackboard (Facebook-like) software.

- Witnessing the most confusing not-so-stealth  ‘stealth VIP party’ ever! It was hosted by Instructure, competitor to Blackboard. They attempted to have a party with Blackboard attendees and gave out t-shirts and presented an ‘interesting’ not ready for prime-time skit. (Capped by accidentally raffling off a lightsaver to a Blackboard employee. CEO Josh Oates was very embarrassed.)

- Hearing Dr. Rudy Crew’s amazingly honest assessment of how to tackle the achievement gap in K-12. Remember, if we close the achievement gap and the gender gap, we solve our workforce preparedness issues.

- Getting to know Pearson better. Great team of thought leaders.

- Hearing from no fewer the 10 schools using ePortfolios that we have the best-in-market product, by far.

So much more went on than I can’t possibly mention and I remain inspired by the palpable commitment to innovation in education represented by the 2,300 attendees at Blackboard.

If anyone else attended Bb World we’d love to hear about your experiences and what innovative ed tech companies you’re interested in.

Keep Learning,

HH (via Team rrripple)

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