I spent the last few days in Milwuakee at High Ed web 2019, a conference for higher education web professionals. Most attendees were college web developers or designers along people who run web operations at colleges and universities and related vendors. Being a CS teacher, I was a bit of an outsider but still got a lot out of the conference.
It was our first time in Milwuakee so we had to see some sights.
The Bronz Fonz on the riverwalk:
Then there was Gertie the duck:
And then more ducks by the river:
Later, we had a transcendental meal at The Odd Duck.
Apparently, Milwaukee loves their ducks.
All were cool but I'd say that the Grohmann was the standout - if you're in Milwaukee, make the time for it.
As to the conference itself I attended a few interesting sessions. One talk was on Agile by John Wililams (no, not THAT John Williams). John spoke about Agile as a mindset rather than a specific tech/development thing and talked about how the classic comedy Airplane! was develped as an Agile project. It made me think of how Computational Thinking really isn't anything new or how OOP design patterns were developed by an architect.
Another talk by Sven Haas gave me a fresh perspective from the IT manager's point of view. We rail all the time in the CS education forums about how hard it is to get our schools IT teams to install the development environments and tools we want to use with our Students. Sven reminded me that for every single request we make of our infrastructure people, there are tons of ramification. Long term software maintenance and versioning, security, legal ramifications, and more. Sven also reminded me that all to often parties, including teachers and students, talk across each other rather than to each other - "I need this installed" rather than having a conversation about needs and jointly developing solutions.
There were also a couple of more technical talks I enjoyed.
The conference organizers also did a great job. Kudos to the Milwuakee convention center for having their restrooms in order:
And for the conference team on adding the signs for further clarification.
A big highlight for me was reconnecting with Maccabee. Mac was in my class at Stuy way back around '95. We've been in touch but as his career has took him out of NYC it's been years since we've seen each other in person. Always great to see an old friend.
I probably won't be back to High Ed Web. While it's a great conference, I'm not really the intended audience. When you can only go to so many things a year due to time and money you have to call your shots. I will say though, if you're in the higher ed web space, you should really check it out.Tweet