BbWorld in Las Vegas was a whirlwind of activity for Blackboard Clients, Partners and Employees alike. It was extremely difficult to pick a favorite moment out of a week spent at OSCELOT Open Source Day 6.0, DevCon 2011 and BbWorld 2011. There were certainly a few that stuck out. Dr. Chuck’s Blackboard tattoo and Matthew Small in a wedding dress with a Blackboard tattoo of his own certainly made for interesting conversations in the halls of the Venetian. From a Blackboard Partnerships perspective, the announcement of new and/or continued partnerships with all the major publishers, the Blackboard Developmental Education announcement and a new Premier Partner in Kaltura were surely highlights. That said, I am a self-proclaimed computer geek and the Blackboard Sponsor for TechBUG, so I wanted to take a few moments to recap our first meet-up in Sin City.
Both Steven Johnson and Sir Ken Robinson conducted engaging, entertaining and thoughtful opening and closing BbWorld keynotes that were incredibly well-received by attendees. They inspired us all to think creatively about the impact each of us can make on the educational experience. If you made it to BbWorld, or not, these presentations are well-worth the time it takes to view them. Check them out on BbWorld.com here. Steven Johnson successfully kicked off the week with a great discussion on “Where Good Ideas Come From” – a relevant theme to the work that was done in Vegas. His passion for fostering creativity through unlikely environments and situations challenged us all to reassess the work we do on a daily basis and how we engage with others. Sir Ken Robinson brought the house down with his candor and humor in discussing the “Learning Revolution.” It seemed as if every head in the room was nodding when he said, “tools are only really capable of great creative work if there are creative minds using them.” His emphasis on more personalized learning environments showcased how education can support – not stifle – creativity in everyone.
This year’s BbWorld® keynote address from Michael Chasen, Ray Henderson and Kayvon Beykpour offered a great overview of updates we have made over the past year as well as product plans, roadmaps and company strategies. Ray provided his annual Report Card for Blackboard Learn that assessed our successes this year and where we will continue to improve. Our major partnership announcements with Pearson, Cengage, Macmillan, and Wiley and the introduction of Service Pack 6 for Blackboard Learn 9.1, Blackboard Collaborate™ 11 and Blackboard Connect™ 5.0 were also discussed. Kayvon was on hand to explain updates to the Blackboard Mobile™ platform, including the new Building Blocks for Mobile Pilot Program. Check out the full video of the corporate keynote presentations here (complete with a guest appearance from a feathered friend): More BbWorld recaps will be posted later this week, so stay tuned!
As we unwind from BbWorld 2011 and work on getting the full keynote presentations posted for you soon, I wanted to share some behind the scenes videos from the event that you may not have seen last week. I had the opportunity to meet Steven Johnson and Sir Ken Robinson, the opening and closing keynote speakers, in the Green Room before they took the stage for their presentations. Check out the interviews below. Also, check out all of the photos from BbWorld posted to our Facebook page. (While you’re there, LIKE us!) More recaps from clients and links to session presentations coming soon.
Now that we’re back from BbWorld, I wanted to share with you two more Theater Sessions from the Product Marketing team that took place last week. Chris Borales presented on Blackboard’s continuing support of open standards. A presentation from Melissa Mintz discussed how to use ‘mobile’ to connect with students and improve engagement on campus. You can view their full presentations below.