Augmented Conferences

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= An augmented conference is one in which technology enhances face-to-face sessions and presentations.


George Siemens et al in Educause Review:

"An augmented conference is one in which technology enhances face-to-face sessions and presentations. Of course, technology has been used to augment face-to-face conferences since the days of the famed magic lantern. Today, most conferences augment face-to-face presentations with projected PowerPoint slides or, for the more ambitious, with live web browsing and video clips. These technology-enhanced presentations mirror the format of the modern classroom, where technology plays a role in augmenting the delivery of content.

Also prevalent in most conferences today is the e-mail room and/or wireless access for laptops. This brings the office to the conference for many participants, allowing them to stay current with non-conference work (though some would argue that this is not entirely a positive development!). The last several years in particular have seen a significant rise in technology presence: overhead presentations have given way to PowerPoint, paper handouts have yielded to wikis, and blog reviews and comments on proceedings have risen in popularity. Wireless access during conferences has become even more important, since it affects how participants are able to interact with information. Participants can look up references, create shareable notes and comments, seek additional resources, and connect with conference colleagues.

Along with the greater control offered to attendees by the inclusion of technology, participation is similarly increased. For example, Australia's eLearning06 conference used mobile technology to more fully involve participants in conference presentations.5 Questions were posed to participants via SMS (each attendee provided his/her mobile phone information at registration), and keynote presenters responded, with aggregated questions and comments projected for others to see. Similar results could be achieved through the use of “clicker” student-response systems.

Less common is the use of technology to augment the sessions, presentations, and conversations that occur in the informal spaces of dialogue and networking. For example, a conference wiki or blog may be used during the conference. Conferences can also encourage the use of a conference tag to extend the conversations and commentaries into participants’ personal spaces and can then bring them together through aggregation. For example, EDUCAUSE promoted the use of the “EDUCAUSE2007” tag for its annual conference, with attendees’ tagged blogs, links, and photos aggregated on the association’s website ( Twitter (a micro-blog tool in which a writer describes current activities or resources to a network of friends and colleagues who have subscribed to the writer’s Twitter feed), IRC, social tagging systems such as Diigo, and photo-sharing sites such as Flickr may be used to increase opportunities for participants to interact during and after the conference." (

More Information

See also:

Blended Conferences