Open Space = Unconference = #NEIT2010

What is an Open Space conference?

Have you ever attended a conference or workshop where you were more or less excited about the topics, but the exact information you wanted to be exposed to was not on the schedule? You might have been looking forward to the networking and seeing friends and colleagues, but not necessarily to the various offerings.

A remedy for such a situation might look like the board in the photo at the top, which is the Open Space board for the recent NEIT conference. Another name for Open Space is an Unconference. (Clicking the photo will take you to a full size version of the image.) The board consists of a grid of time slots and room locations with room capacities. Prior to the conference, people used the NEIT wiki to list sessions they were willing to offer and sessions they wanted to attend. Once arriving at the conference, attendees then posted to the board the sessions they would offer, and folks could then choose which sessions best met their needs. The wiki was also utilized to compile the notes from each of the Open Space sessions, making the information available to those who could not attend a given session.

The benefit of this method of organizing a conference is that sessions turn out to be a fairly accurate representation of topics with which people want to engage, because the topics are chosen by the attendees and not by a much smaller group of conference organizers. The organizers of NEIT also kindly stream the keynotes while they are happening, and then archive the keynotes for future reference. Quite convenient for the rest of us!

The first Open Space session I attended was for an online application that I’ve long wanted to explore but simply never made time to do so. Here are my notes for Glogster. (If you visit the wiki, you’ll see they are the same as the notes on the wiki; that is because I was the note taker 😉 )

What is Glogster?

  • online poster presentation, stored in the cloud
  • Glogs could be accessed by others, so think of a class full of glogs that kids, teachers, parents could access in their own time frame
  • can have as a resource for other kids, classes, years
  • like a scrapbook page with videos, etc

Glogster Education site –
Glogster edu links:

Basic is free (200 account limit) or you can pay for a cost of $2/student for a year

can tag and categorize what you make (commercial side has some inappropriate tags)
can make creations private or public on edu site

  • the tool set is Flash based so will not work from iPad
  • interface is similar to Prezi but without the zooming
  • each insertion is a Flash object arranged on the screen – the more “stuff”, the longer the initial loading, but once loaded, everything runs smoothly “as good as the computer they’re running on”

Consider discussing design issues:

  • positioning on a large canvas (how items relate to one another in the space)
  • determining what to include – “cool” stuff vs. making the information legible and useful

Town School is using this w/5th and 6th grade Science teachers for student Science presentations (instead of standard large poster boards)
“How do we take the goods of these things [that are not designed for edu] and make the best of them for our students?” (Reshan)

How to Use:

  • Create New Glog (once you are logged in) [Glog = Graphic Blog]
  • go ahead and just play with it 🙂
  • user interface is very friendly
  • Can learn more about “how to use” at:

Other items to consider:

  • unable to export to another format; stuck in Glogster
  • Terms of Service – age limits who can participate/use a resource, such as with Quizlet
  • usually age 13 is the age limit due to Child and Privacy Act

Some more cool tools and resources:



One thought on “Open Space = Unconference = #NEIT2010

  1. Pingback: Glogster – it’s not your parents’ posters « Digital Wave

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