The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda
Oct 17, 2006
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This online conference started yesterday with a pre-recorded keynote by Dave Warlick (to me it's not a keynote unless it's live - but that's just me). It features a number of educational bloggers, mostly (as the title suggests) from the K-12 sector, and mostly from the United States (and not, as one commentator wrote, "top educational bloggers from around the world"). It's kind of like a 'Coming of Age', only presented as a conference. Oh hey wait, it's the same people! Who are - according to themselves - the leading edubloggers. As one person commented today - a 'co-prosperity sphere'. I prefer the term from Jerry Pournelle: the CoDominium. Anyhow - I aggregate more than 300 edubloggers (and leave out just as many again) and try to represent their contributions as fairly as I can in these pages. And that is to me the core of edublogging, not self-styled A-listers. But hey - attend the conference, listen to Warlick and Freedman and Fryer and McIntosh and the rest and judge for yourself. What do I know? Via Computer Science Teacher. Total: 2184
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Comments

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

Sounding kind of grumpy, need a blue pill today? Keep in mind it is an all volunteer conference, and free to those that want to take a sip. [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

And I for one am LOVING it. I was expecting some of the same stuff I had heard earlier this month in Myrtle Beach only to be PLEASANTLY surprised that it was a unique approach on D. Warlick's behalf, highly engaging, and at times I felt he was JUST talking to me. I loved the parallels of education to a journey and being on the rails. I had questions initially too, but after yestereday's opening keynote, am shariing with all my friends and colleagues. Of course teachers need some freebies every now and then. And his show and tell about the wiki and blogging were well worth the time I spent watching. Not only that, but another teacher walked through my library at lunch (while I was watching), became captivated, and watched for a while before having to go, but left asking me to send the URL so he could go back and tune in when he had more time. K12 needs more of exactly this as there are MANY who never get to attend conferences, and DESPERATELY need exactly what this offers. Some only get to choose one a year, and then go with their content area. Many of us have to pay for conferences right out of our pockes, and in my area of the US, we are not exactly the highest paid public servants. No, you cannot replace the face to face networking or feeding off of an audience response to points made in a keynote, but his approach was still VERY effective for me. So KEEP it coming K12 Online Conference! [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

I took your advice Stephen and I listened to Warlick's 'keynote'. And I liked it....alot. And I do know that the request went out to one and all to submit proposals to present at this event. I know I'm looking forward to hearing what they have to say. Finally Stephen, if the presenters at this conference are not the ones us K12 types should be listening to, why not give us a list of those you think we should be watching/listening to. [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

Well, we have to start somewhere. There are actually some fascinating people presenting and participating. Today, I was talking to Julie Lindsay in India and she is going to participate in the live wiki that is part of my presentation after she gets back from Nepal (lucky girl.) The toughest thing about the live stuff is the time zones! Unless we all went on military time and some of us gave up our days, that is always going to be a factor for anything live. Jeff Utecht along with Shanghai University is doing a lot of amazing things with the conference. Sharon Peters up in Canada is doing a presentation as well. So, could it have more participants from all areas who are presenting? Yes, probably. But we work with those we know. The secret is to expand the circle of those we know. The blogosphere is doing that for me and so many other teachers. Julie and I are planning to wiki both sides of the "the World is Flat" book. We wanted to skype and talk live, but there is not a time when we're both in school at the same time! Wikis and a lot of the non-live delivery methods such as David's keynote are the way to truly let the world attend a conference. I guess we have to start somewhere. I hope that you'll be part of it! Your voice is so respected and listened to by many people. As we participate, we can constructively suggest how to improve it. I've always found that by joining in and being part of things, we can change things. You ARE a part of things and your voice is heard. Maybe you'll stop in and wiki with Vicki on Monday. I also hope you might consider joining in the live wiki project. I'd love to have your feedback. As for me, I don't know if it is the "same old" faces because I've only been blogging since last November. Everyone is a new face! But everyone is beautiful and different and amazing as we flatten out this world and learn to understand one another! This week alone I've learned about customs in India and football in Canada! I hope to see you at the conference! [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

The previous post was from Vicki Davis -- Cool Cat TEacher. A big fan! [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

"Oh hey wait, it's the same people! Who are - according to themselves - the leading edubloggers." I guess that includes myself, since I post every once in a while for TechLearning. Surprisingly, I don't remember calling myself a leading edublogger-but if you say so... I really value reading your posts by the way and enjoy comparing your thoughts with mine. But your tone in this post is somewhat condensending to people who simply want to help, and perhaps make a contribution. David Jakes [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

In defense of those who have worked hard to create this unique conference, I would like to offer a response to Stephen's blog post. As one who has straddled both higher academia and the K-12 sector for the last several years as I finished a degree in Ed.Tech. WHILE full-time teaching in the high school classroom, I can say that there is a difference between these two domains, and hence, the edublogging that represents them. From what I have seen, those of us using these tools in the classroom often are experiencing isolation and a sense of marginalization from the rest of our colleagues who simply do not understand the power of social computing. To find a community of like-minded practitioners through the web is a lifeline that has been thrown to us as we are the early adopters, we are on the cutting edge trying our hardest to implement best-practice models for those who are watching on (often very skeptically). We need the opportunity to rub shoulders (or stand on shoulders) of those who have gone out before us blazing trails through difficult jungles of indifference and lack of understanding. We need to see models of how these tools can be implemented so we don't make unnecessary mistakes as we try out new approaches. As a presenter for this conference, I have spent many hours on the presentation - many more than I would have for a f2f presentation because of the nature of online presentation. I freely share my materials and insights on behalf of my students - because I do believe that these approaches engage students in a learning process that is much more beneficial than the traditional, sit-at-a-desk-while-the-teacher-delivers-content style approach. I have witnessed so much excitement and interest as my students communicate and collaborate with other students around the world using such environments as nicenet, the moodle, wikis, and blogs. Believe me, designing instructional units using web 2.0 tools takes an initial investment of time and we k-12 teachers have to show our colleagues that it is well worth the effort. The higher academic blogosphere, it seems to me, addresses the needs of the adult learner - a different learner - one who is the digital immigrant. It addresses the needs of the corporate world, often, which is the world which possesses greater resources ($$). Those of us who work in the public school sector (and I admittedly work in a private school) face an entirely different reality of education. Classroom teachers are under-funded, misunderstood, lack relevant professional development opportunities, and have to deal with administrations and school boards who filter and block Internet access so much that one can barely navigate at all on the web. These are big hurdles to overcome. Unfortunately, there is usually a disconnect between higher academia and the k-12 sector in terms of quality research opportunities. K-12 schools are reluctant to permit qualified researchers to come into the classroom to study the classroom practices and perform research on the learning process. However, without these studies, we will be unable to demonstrate that some approaches are better than others. We need an openness between these two sectors that will foster research in the classroom so that we can show our colleagues that there are best practice approaches. For the moment, a conference such as this provides an opportunity for educators around the world to have access to resources and experienced teachers to which they may not have otherwise been exposed. In this instance, perhaps it is the same-old, same-old crowd of edubloggers/educators....(if so, I am happy to be included in such company!!) but we are NOT an exclusive group. We very much welcome others with open arms with the hope we can learn from them too. Sharon Peters [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

This just goes to show all of us, it is about the conversations. No longer are the conversations limited to our hallways, our schools, our local communities. Our beliefs are challenged or affirmed in Globalspeak. I for one will take the Globalspeak any day, any time zone no matter where on the planet. Blog on! This is from Cheryl Oakes [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

Hmmm -- are you just grouchy today?? or are you disappointed that you aren't a part??? this doesn't sound typical of your usual comments -- well at least not to me. So far -- this conference has been remarkable -- and its only into the first day of it. I love face to face conferences and admit that this does not have the opportunities that do come with being able to interact in real life -- However, this conference is unique in that it offers possibilities that could not be achieved at a F2F conference. It allows you the ability to do it ALL -- on your own timetable. And -- it is free -- So -- for a poor person, who loves to go to every session -- this is ideal. I would love for you to be a part -- the next open session conference is October 26. The Elluminate venue is quite unique. Hope to see you there. And if you are having a bad day -- I hope things get better. [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

Actually, Stephen, it looks like Alfred Thompson posted this and you just copied it. I think perhaps apologies are in order? Vicki Davis [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

Never mind. I've looked at it, I guess it is your opinion after all. [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

I logged in to the K-12 Online Conference numerous times and found it to be very helpful. Being unable to afford to attend all the events I would like, this is a fantastic vehicle to hear from other educators (A and B listers) using Technology. I also enjoy the ability to post responses to any and all presentors at any time. As Vicki noted - my circle of resources is expanding daily. Sharon Betts [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

oooooooo.... People really feel the need to defend themselves don't they? I'm contributing to both K - 12 online and Coming of Age but I think this comes down to groups vs. networks. Insiders and outsiders vs. building the competencies of the community as a whole. I'm not really interesting in being an "insider," but I am interested in people finding the information they need to accomplish the goals they they want to. Clarence Fisher remoteaccess.typepad.com [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

Some of us who work in the USA have worked all over the world. Not to make money, not to get famous, but because of our love of the technology and , because we are connected. I have worked in the Med, from Greece, and in Southern and Northern Africa. I have also traveled to Canada. What I like about the regulars, is that we keep each other on our toes, we know the lay of the technology landscape, and possibiliites and we have to keep learning .. This weekend I helped to create a computational cluster. Little Fe, get the joke? So I go from content specialist to a person understanding and learning how to make a little iron, the big supercomputers are called " big iron" that's a joke of course. The little computer pretends to be a supercomputer and works. It was really fun to learn. We who keep learning , push ourselves to not be .. stale or boring. I did not participate in the conference except through learning ... Bonnie Bracey Sutton [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

Come on Stephen ... this is disappointing coming from a leader like you but I'm glad you are free to share your point of view ... I'm sure I told you before I'm part of that long tail. My trip started when I read your blog a few years ago. So if I'm a "self-stlyed a lister" from Ajax, Ontario, Canada, then things have really changed since I started blogging. That isn't why I decided to take this learning journey. Quentin D'Souza [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

Come on Stephen ... this is disappointing coming from a leader like you but I'm glad you are free to share your point of view ... I'm sure I told you before I'm part of that long tail. My trip started when I read your blog a few years ago. So if I'm a "self-stlyed a lister" from Ajax, Ontario, Canada, then things have really changed since I started blogging. That isn't why I decided to take this learning journey. Quentin D'Souza [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

I think the fact that I got a guernsey to present at K-12 proves that Z-listers are just as welcome as the so-called A-listers. A year ago I would not have had enough guts, confidence or skills to even think of being part of an initiative like this. Maybe there are some familiar names but surely that shows their intentions are good, no money exchanging hands - however, I do worry when I see someone who runs an edtech consulting business is down for three sessions. I can assure you that the four Aussies who are in it are not looking for A list credentials - we're not likely to end up on Will Richardson's edublogger s-to-meet list. This is a great chance for anyone connected to get involved. The next edition will hopefully become more internationally flavoured and there will be plenty of ways to improve when it is all done and dusted. Sure there are plenty of US contributors but considering the number of educators in that country, that really isn't a surprise. An opportunity like this builds educators' skills and contributes to the snowball effect - "Check out this free conference" is more likely to get new people into web based learning than if I say,"Read my blog." Hey, you're entitled to your opinion - but I'm entitled to disagree with you. I just tink it's a bit unfair to take a potshot at something that is only just taking to flight. Graham Wegner http://gwegner.edublogs.org [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

Stephen, May I recommend taking an hour or so out of your busy schedule of ridiculing the work of others and watch the Disney classic Bambi. Pay close attention to the part where Thumper's mother says to the young rabbit. "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Have a wonderful day. Shawn Wheeler [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

Stephen, as someone who posts occasionally for the TechLearning blog, I wasn't offended in the slightest by this post. I think it is accurate to note both that 1) many of the folks participating in the K-12 online conference ARE some of the leading bloggers in education / education technology, and 2) some other good voices probably aren't included. Some voices that are absent may be due to self-selection - I know that proposals were solicited from all interested parties but only 70 or so were received. Some of the exclusion may be for other reasons. Whatever the case, the online conference is an innovative idea and I think we're all looking forward to seeing how it plays out. If it's successful, I'm guessing that more proposals will be received next year. Hey, you did invite everyone to check it out and see what they think! One final thought: I think it's okay to recognize that some voices are being heard more than others. I also think it's okay for those voices to recognize that and try to use that power for good. As I've blogged in the past, those folks that have reach should leverage it, not be ashamed of it. For example, I think David Warlick SHOULD call himself a thought leader (because he is one) and shouldn't be reluctant to live that role. This doesn't mean folks have to be arrogant about it - just humbly accepting that others are finding value in what they have to say. Dr. Scott McLeod www.dangerouslyirrelevant.org [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: The K-12 Online Conference 2006 Agenda

Wow, I didn't even knew this guy existed until I read David Jakes. [Comment] [Permalink]



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