Hello from Las Vegas! Yesterday was the official start to BbWorld® 2011 and you could feel the excitement in the hallways and the session rooms as things got underway.

The afternoon started with a handful of sessions including a standing room only keynote on the Future of Mobile Learning delivered by Kayvon Beykpour, VP of Blackboard MobileTM. Given the overwhelming popularity of this session, it will be repeated again this afternoon. Kayvon talked about how mobile is re-inventing the way we live, work and teach, leaving the audience thinking about how we can empower students with mobile devices.

Travis Sowders also gave a great presentation, “Integrating Social Media into Students’ Lives and Learning” highlighting ways to engage students via social media through cross platforms including Blackboard LearnTM, Blackboard ConnectTM and Blackboard Building BlocksTM.

In true Blackboard fashion, the opening keynote brought clients, partners, and employees together in the Keynote Hall for the formal start of the conference. Steven Johnson, author of “Where Good Ideas Come From,” delivered a fascinating talk about ways to foster creativity through unlikely environments and situations. He challenged BbWorld attendees to think about how we can leverage academic environments to bring students and faculty with different ideas and backgrounds together to create synthetic and networked thinking. (He also suggested we fuel up on more coffee as caffeine can also breed innovation!) There was much agreement in the room when he said we spend too much time building walls and protecting our own ideas, ultimately limiting creativity. Instead, he challenged us to connect our ideas with the ideas of others to create new opportunities. The message certainly resonated with the audience and is a great theme for why we come together at BbWorld.

I had the unique opportunity to meet Steven in the Green Room and captured some of the key messages from his presentation. Check it out here:

Immediately following the opening keynote, the crowd moved into the Exhibit Hall for the welcome reception which included theater sessions from the Product Marketing Teams, Poster Sessions from clients and a chance to mingle with partners and peers.  Steven Johnson was also on hand to sign copies of his book.

It was a jam-packed afternoon and I know everyone is excited for Day Two. So, fill up on some coffee (to fuel your ideas) and get ready for another great day.

If you’re following at home, check out Live from Las Vegas and be sure to keep an eye on the discussion happening on twitter at #bbworld11.

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