Affective reaction and emotion was a theme that came up in the panel discussion and Q&A session at the end of the eLit 2006 conference. It was suggested that sometimes we address cognitive development in isolation, not giving enough attention to how people feel about issues like e-literacy. I found this interesting as one of the issues in the paper I was involved in presenting was that of library anxiety and how this needs to be addressed before we can hope to develop information skills.
In personal terms I had my own anxiety to deal with as I was, along with a colleague, presenting my first paper at an external conference. I had originally said that I was happy to be involved in writing the paper but didn't want to do much, if any, of the speaking. Eventually I decided that it would be good for me to step out of my comfort zone far enough to do some of the actual presenting. It was scary to find myself at the front of a room full of expectant looking conference delegates, but once we got started I realised that it was actually quite fun to have people's attention for a while to talk about a subject that I'm interested in. I was very glad I was not on my own up there though, so I must thank my co-presenter for helping to make it a slightly less stressful and much more enjoyable experience than I'd anticipated it might be!
The atmosphere of the conference overall was one of active involvement and sharing of experience. Some difficult questions were raised and no easy answers were forthcoming, but there was lots of energy going into trying to find ways forward. One presentation summed this up for me. It started as a very proper academic research paper, describing methodology and analysis and so on, but as the presenter got involved in talking about their work with students it was like a light had been switched on, the tone of voice changed, and suddenly you could see and hear the enthusiasm.