A Joyful Reunion

Gardner Campbell UNFIS
Photo by Mike Boyles

Hey, Gardner Campbell, I’d like to introduce you to my new friends.

Back on August 13th, I accepted a job to come to the University of North Florida to work at the Center for Instruction & Research Technology (CIRT). Exactly a month later, I posted my goodbye to UMW and Fredericksburg on Facebook (of all places). Among the well-wishes I received from that post was one from Gardner. He finished by saying, “Oh, and p.s.: see you in November!” I didn’t know at first what this meant, but I soon realized that he was referring to CIRT’s annual Innovation Symposium, UNFIS 2015. Gardner would be keynoting the symposium, and it would be my maiden voyage into helping host a conference at my new place of work.

Well, the conference has come and gone. I am now in video editing mode and will soon be posting all of the conference videos. It reminds me very much of the UMW Faculty Academies we did so long ago, including several with Gardner. True Fact: One of the first times I videotaped Gardner was a Faculty Academy in the Jepson Science Center doing a demo of Sound Forge on the PC. I believe that was in 1999 or 2000, well before anything known as DTLT or even Gardner being director of the talented “dream team”. We go back a ways.

Fast forward to 2015.

I do my best to actually pay attention to what people are saying during their presentations that I am taping, and not just adjusting knobs and dials and trying to get the recording perfect. I DID like what I was hearing from the UNF Faculty participants, and I was getting excited about working with them. Overall it was an impressive conference and well attended (the highest attendance so far). It started two years ago, when another upstart, Jim Groom gave a keynote talking about this crazy idea of a “Domain of One’s Own”.

Years earlier (at Open Ed 2009) there was a talk by Gardner that we will forever refer to as the Bags of Gold talk. Within the first 5 minutes of the video, Gardner expresses the frustration he has with some colleagues of living in what Clay Shirky calls “the largest increase in expressive capability in the history of the human race”. Here, watch:

“It’s a bag of gold, what part of that do you not understand.”

Now we have Dr. Campbell in 2015, thankfully seeing the fruition of his talks about “Personal Cyberinfrastructures” in the many “domains” projects at several universities, with Mr. Groom (succesful businessman), along with his partner, my friend and colleague Tim Owens, spearheading the Reclaim project. Paying attention 😉 to Gardner’s talk was one of the better experiences I have had recently as far as Edtech conferences go. It was a rush of emotion bringing the work that I and others have done over the many years and introducing it to a new, fertile campus.

So without further ado, here is Gardner’s UNFIS Keynote, complete with post-lunch opening statement, Jerome Bruner references, and a beautiful message at the end about how we can bond with our students. When he utters the line “I am SO not kidding”, a chill goes down my spine. Enjoy!

Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash


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