Wednesday, 24 October 2007
Products, Pens and Pedometres
The exhibition at EDUCAUSE has over 200 different suppliers taking part and is housed in a hall the size of an aircraft hanger. It can take an hour or so just to walk round - on the opening night I was there for just over two hours, and didn't get to every stand. There's a mixture of exhibitors - the large corporates such as IBM, HP, Sun, Oracle, Apple, Microsoft, are there in force, but there are also many smaller companies trying to break into the HE Market. I find the exhibition very useful. It's a great way to talk to our existing suppliers, and discuss new developments or problems we're having. Last year for example I was able to meet with the Vice-President of Blackboard (our WebCT supplier) and discuss the support (or rather lack of it) that we were getting.
It's also a great way to keep track of new and emerging technologies. Most of the stands have small "theatres" where new products are demonstrated throughout the day. I've just watched one on the Apple stand about their new operating system, Leopard.
Some of the smaller companies whose products we are currently evaluating are also here. I've chatted to the guys on the Zimbra stand about their collaborative tools we're looking at. I've also picked up a lot of information about Learning Objects - a suite of social learning applications for students which allows you to embed wikis, blogs etc into your VLE.
Of course it's also compulsory if you're part of the British contingent to see how many freebies you can collect from the stands, and who can get the best ones - it's a bit of a competition. So far I've collected two pedometers, a torch, a flashing necklace, several pens and an assortment of sweets. Must do better tomorrow!