I spent the day at a social media conference called Brave New Media. On the beautiful campus of Harding University in nearby Searcy, a group of bright students and progressively-minded professors invited anyone and everyone to join them in a discussion of the potential of emerging media platforms and social networking, and the lessons we can already learn from its short history.
What I took away from the day, aside from some of the insights of my fellow presenters about topics as diverse as the Egyptian revolution and the #ARwx hashtag, was how powerful a force student initiative can be. I'm a huge proponent of facilitating student projects, rather than setting them to work on my projects. What I saw today was the brainchild of a student, assisted by other students, and supported by professors. That's the ideal. That's how learning happens -- by doing, by pushing against difficulties, by solving problems, and by partnering with others to tap into the right resources.
My hat is off to the professors who participated in making this conference happen, and who showed up today to be a supportive audience for their students' program. Even the first time I met them, they were already demonstrating the ideal of the professoriate that I've come to embrace.
You can read the tweets from the Brave New Media conference by searching the hashtag #bravenewmedia. I think you'll be surprised at the insight and positivity surrounding a topic that, in many a higher education setting, evokes only fear and loathing.