TENCompetence Winter School 2008… in English

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I had the pleasure of participating at the TENCompetence Winter School 2008.

I spent 5 days at the Grillhof, a wonderful resort in the forest nearby Innsbruck. We were around 40 people, teachers, PhD students, experts and consultants, young and …less young :-), from Europa, including Russia, and USA.

The programme was intensive and rich of useful hints for my work and research. Most of them should be worth posting separately.

I am now reflecting more generally on the event and here are some freewheeling thoughts:

  • the organization of the event was excellent (thanks first to Milos and Christian). All was OK, from our comfortable and (really very) tiny rooms, to food, meetings rooms and equipment, until sport, leisure and social activities. Only the unavailability of the wireless connection into the rooms prevented from attaining the perfection!
  • Participants familiarized very quickly and easily. Sure, the social event on Monday evening, with free drinks, guitars and songs, had some importance for creating a warm and friendly environment :-).
  • Speakers (nearly all) proposed relation with high interaction: group works, Q&A, Socratic lessons, hands-on. There were no opportunities for boring. I should remember this lesson…
  • The program was partly open. Some attendees had the opportunity to propose specific themes and organize dedicated sessions. I myself contributed to the Social Software in Education session (thanks to Martin), in which I presented the LTEver experience with a zoom (as a case study) on the role of the community during the Intro OpenEd course.
  • It was a unique chance for sharing and discuss ideas, works, projects, personal situations, institutional realities with people from a wide range of countries. I’m sure I learnt more chatting during a lunch, in the breaks or at pub in the night, than from the lessons, although they were really interesting. Of course, it was a valuable occasion for broading our networks!
  • It may be trivial but, since some of us (me included…) are often very Internet-addicted, it’s worth reminding that the power of the presence for initiating relations is irreplaceable. I argue that I could have somehow met most of my new friends through the net, but it would not have been the same…. I’m pretty sure that the cohesion power of a vibrant table-tennis match is definitely higher than a couple of comments in a blog 🙂 (I would like to hear from Violeta and Stefan on this…)
  • We need a common language for Europe. Obviously, I don’t wish to replace our rich and ancient national languages and cultures! Even though, if we want really realize a shared Europe, we strongly need to speak and understand each other. English seems, today, the only practical way. Then, maybe that also we mediterraneans should start to imitate the Dutch or the Scandinavians, for which English is a second mother-tongue…
  • The language issue involves blog and personal sites. I previously posted about it (in Italian). So, maybe I’m going to open a completely new blog, in English…
    For now, I decided to open a small English corner on my main blog, and this is the first post!
    Yes, I also have a category of English posts that I wrote for the Intro OpenEd course, but this is another story….

Finally, a rich photo coverage  and, thanks to Sandra, the very essentials from the school!

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