See You at TechKnowledge 2012

Next week, Diane and I (and over a thousand other learning and development professionals) converge in Las Vegas for one of ASTD’s largest annual conferences: TechKnowledge.

As part of this year’s conference planning team, I’m moderating a couple of TK Chats. TK Chats debuted at TechKnowledge last year and were a great success; they are fairly short, informal, moderated panels on some of the hot topics in our industry right now. I have to admit that I’ve heavily favored formal sessions in the past over the chats, but I’m coming around. The one TK Chat I attended at last year’s TechKnowledge led toward better networking and gave me more of an opportunity, as a learner, to ask the questions that were on my mind.

This year, I’m thrilled to be moderating the Gamification chat with panelists Karl Kapp, Koreen Olbrish, Rick Raymer, and Kris Rockwell, as well as the Experience Design and Activity Streams chat with panelists Aaron Silvers, Koreen Olbrish, and Reuben Tozman. I’ve met and talked with all of these individuals over the past year, and I can tell you that all of them are experts their field as well as great conversationalists. I am looking forward to the opportunity to learn more from them.

I’ll also be a panelist for the Authoring Tools/HTML5 TK Chat with Dave Anderson of Articulate, Patrick Krekelberg of Allen Learning Technologies, and Thomas Toth, author of Trainers Talk Tech. I’m looking forward to a lively discussion!

Both Diane and I are leading sessions this year, as well. I am leading the Getting Started with Storyline Creation Station sessions. Storyline is the hot-and-upcoming new authoring tool from Articulate. Diane and I have been privileged to be in the beta for several months now, and we’ve really enjoyed putting it through its paces; we are even using it for some client work at this point. So I will be showing how to get started with this powerful and easy-to-use tool, as well as showing examples of work that we and others have created with it.

Diane is leading a session on Evaluating the Accessibility Options in Popular E-Learning Authoring Tools – a topic that is very close to this company’s heart, as one of our specialties is creating interactive, usable, accessible e-learning for those with disabilities using assistive technology. Diane was a special guest on The ToolBar a few weeks ago to talk about this issue with Brian Dusablon and me, and I think it was one of the most educational episodes we’ve done – if only because this issue is understood by so few in our industry. Diane does a great job of breaking down the basics and taking it much further, into both the design and development considerations that everyone who produces Section 508 or any accessible content needs to know. If you are interested in this topic but won’t be able to make it to TechKnowledge, Diane will be presenting on the topic for the DC-ASTD Tech SIG in February – a free webinar, available to all. Registration is already open here.

The other place you will be able to find us often is TechKafe, a new concept for this year’s event. The planning committee conceived TechKafe as a place for people to meet and continue the conversations that started in sessions, TK Chats, or the expo hall… and possibly even draw others into the conversations via Twitter.  The idea is pretty simple: between sessions or when you’re just looking for some downtime without checking out entirely, you can use TechKafe as a physical place and Twitter as a virtual place to find others who want to talk about the same things you’re interested in. It’s one of the many ways that Twitter is going to be integrated into this conference, so if you’re planning to either attend in person or follow the conference through social media, check out this Twitter 101 webinar by the master of the conference backchannel, David Kelly (slides now available here), and remember to keep your eye on hashtag #astdTK12.

If you’re going to be there, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Diane or me… find us on Twitter or find us before or after sessions. I can’t tell you how many wonderful relationships and opportunities started for me at last year’s TechKnowledge; meeting new people is the best part of conferences!

We hope to meet you soon.

Judy Unrein

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