Monday, May 26, 2008

Life after Mars

Mars Phoenix On July 5th 1997 I gave a presentation called "Online interactive computer assisted learning" at the 3rd International Conference on Computer Based Learning in Science at De Montfort University in Leicester. (Is anyone who was at that meeting reading this I wonder?)

The talk was based on a series of online hypertext tutorials I had developed over the previous few years, so I decided not to use PowerPoint (or glass slides as most of the presenters still did) but instead to present my talk live using Mosaic. To make the point that what I was talking about could not be achieved in any other medium, I included a picture from the surface of Mars in the corner of each slide, taken by the NASA Mars Pathfinder mission which had touched down the previous evening and just started beaming back pictures that morning.

The tactic worked like a charm, except for one thing. When it came to the questions, the first one was "What's the URL for the pictures from Mars?" (this was a year before Google was founded). When I put it on the screen, the room cleared and everyone rushed off to the computer room the organizers had made available to look at the pictures. There were no other questions.

This morning, I'm sitting here looking at the pictures coming back from the NASA Phoenix mission, tuning into the Twitter stream and discussing the news with people on Seesmic. Some days, 11 years feels like a lifetime, but it doesn't seem like such a long time to me today.

1 comment:

  1. What a great story, AJ. Worked a treat as a little feel-good, pick-me-up this morning :D

    [shock]GLASS SLIDES???!!![/shock]