"Blind Pugh was After hidden treasure, just like the rest of his shipmates, but could not see the map of Treasure Island. However, his hearing was shipshape, and he intended to locate the treasure from what he overheard and get there before the others. The island was divided into a 4X4 grid of equal squares, each square having a unique color. He had heard the following facts:
- The blue square was one square horizontally to the left of the pink square.
- The orange was one to the right of and one above the white.
- The read was one square vertically above the purple.
- The lavender was one square horizontally to the left of the indigo.
- The brown was one vertically below the green.
- The purple was one horizontally to the left of the gray.
- The violet was two horizontally to the right of the yellow.
- The indigo was one vertically above the white.
- The turquoise was two below and one to the right of the red.
- The crimson was one to the right of and one below the green.
- The gold square indicates where the gold is buried." (Clarke, 2003)
So, where is the gold?
While you may not find a treasure chest full of gold at a user conference, you will find information that leads to knowledge that will empower you to make a positive change. Knowledge is not always found in schools, it is not something always searchable on the Web, it is not always something viewable on YouTube, and it cannot always be tweeted. Hands-on experiments, in-person conversations, visualization of tools and products, and an out-of-the box environment will help empower you to solve problems and find that golden solution.
Sometimes going to conferences that may not 100% make sense to attend are not only fun, they provide an opportunity for you to stop doing what everyone else is and to breath new life into your environment. For example, my dissertation was on Information Technology (IT) curricula meeting the needs of employers. I could have only attended and presented the results at educational conferences, instead I went to technology and management conferences. This not only exposed my research to a broader group, it provided me insight on IT hiring practices, logic of IT managers, and much more.
Educause targets their annual conference toward CEOs, CIOs, IT Directors, and other major decision makers. While I am not a major decision maker in my day job nor do I have any decision input as an adjunct faculty, I attended this conference last year. While there I was able to expose my IT student to the Educause organization and their resources. The student watched and evaluated the streamed sessions here and even blogged here. I learned ways to further engage my students and had the opportunity to talk with vendors that do not normally attend conferences targeting classroom educators. The Blackboard annual conferences held in July are as much about educational technology as they are Blackboard (Bb). Yes, Bb is showing off their products and newest enhancements and their are lots of sessions by Bb clients about how they use Bb's products. But there are also amazing and informative sessions by technology vendors, whose products work with or without Bb and last year there were even people from Sakai and Moodle (Bb Competitors) there to talk with. It is great if you can get your employer to support you and pay for your conferences, but sometimes you may need to take charge of your own professional growth and pay your own way. For example, I took annual leave from my day job and paid the registration fee myself to attend the New Horizons conference. Why because my employer did not want to pay for it and believed there was no benefit for them. However, I returned with examples of new technology and how others were using products that we had and how we could do the same thing. Click here to read more about that. So maybe next year when I ask to go to New Horizons (or any non-traditional conference), my employer will say yes. Regardless, I added to my treasure chest of knowledge and connections.
This is getting to be a longer post than I planned. In short, do not always expect your employer pays for conference attendance; do not only attend conferences in your field; and always attend the sessions, talk to vendors, and network with other attendees. If not, you will never be able to solve the puzzle and find YOUR treasure chest.
Have you solved the above MENSA puzzle? If not, your not alone! Have you over thought the instructions? If so, your not alone! Have you taken something for granted? If so, your not alone! The the puzzle solution is below:
Solution (by Clarke, 2003, p. 60-61):
The gold was in the bottom left corner square of the map grid.
"From (2), (4), & (8) one row has lavendar, indigo, orange, consecutively with white one square vertically elow the indigo. Using (3), 6, & (9), the purple is one square vertically below the red, the gray is one horizontally to the right of the purple, and the turquoise is one vertically below the gray. From (5) & (10), the brown is one vertically below the green and the crimson is one horizontally to the right of the brown. Together with (1) & (7), these make five jigsaw pieces that can only fit together in a 4X4 grid one way. The single vacant square is the gold.
- Clarke, B. (2003). Challenging Logic Puzzles.Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., New York. Pg 15, 60-61. ISBN:1-4027-0541-71.
- Educause Annual Conference: http://www.educause.edu/annual-conference
- Blackboard Annual Conference: http://www.blackboard.com/BbWorld/Home.aspx
- New Horizons Conference: http://nhweb.vccs.edu/
- MENSA: http://www.us.mensa.org/