Thing 15 (Week 17): Attend a "21st Century" Conference (in your PJs!)

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The K-12 Online Conference "invites participation from educators around the world interested in innovative ways Web 2.0 tools and technologies can be used to improve learning. This FREE conference is run by volunteers and open to everyone. The 2008 conference theme was Amplifying Possibilities.” Forty multimedia presentations with accompanying resources were posted online to the conference blog for participants to download and view. The 2007 conference theme was Playing with Boundaries, and over 50,000 educators worldwide participated. The sessions, going back to 2006, may be viewed online or downloaded anytime. It's a conference that never closes.

The 2009 conference theme is “Bridging the Divide.” It began with a pre-conference keynote by classroom teacher and international educator Kim Cofino the week of November 30, 2009. The following two weeks, December 7-11 and December 14-17, over fifty presentations were posted online to the conference blog and the conference Ning for participants to view, download, and discuss. Live Events in the form of three “Fireside Chats” are listed on the events page of the conference Ning and Facebook fan page, and live events will continue in 2010 through twice-monthly “K-12 Online Echo” webcasts on EdTechTalk. Over 122 presentations from 2008, 2007, and 2006 are available, along with archived live events.

Discovery Exercise

Visit the K12 Online Conference site and "attend" two (2) presentations of your choice.

Pick sessions that seem interesting/compelling to you, view the presentations and explore the supporting links or resources and see what you can learn! Be sure to view the included "essential questions," even if you do not wish to leave a Voicethread response. (Check the Task, Part 1 below for blog post requirements).

Now that you are aware of the K12 Online Conference, I hope you will return to this resource for future learning, that you will "attend" more of the 2009 conference and visit the archived sessions for 2006-08 where you have time and interest. Please share this wonderful resource with your colleagues.

See instructions below for help in navigating the K12 Online Conference site.

The easiest way to locate a session is to click one of the categories listed under 2009 on the right sidebar of the blog. (The sidebar is present on every page of the site).

¤ NOTE: You will see the archived links for 2006, 2007, and 2008 as well -- if there is a session you feel compelled to "attend" from either of those years, you may, but I encourage you to enjoy the fresher, more "presentationally consistent" content of 2009 for your first go!
Under each category (for example, "Getting Started"), you will find several blog posts listing presentation titles, presenter information and a session description.

Click a post/session title to view the full session page, where you will find a full session description, and links to stream or download the presentation (typically in video format).

Many sessions will provide accompanying resources (such as a companion wiki site or related links) as supporting content for the presentation.

New in 2008: Each session post also includes a Voicethread containing three essential questions for participants to consider.

On the main session page, you will find links for viewing (or listening to) the online presentation.

¤ NOTE: Session lengths vary, but for 2008, session videos have been capped at a maximum of 20 minutes (Forewarning: keynote presentations will be much longer). You should see a video "run time" or length listed next to the presentation link.


PART 1: Write a blog post sharing your thoughts about the sessions you viewed (be sure to include links - others may want to attend after reading your post!). What were the main points made? Were the sessions worthwhile? Did you learn anything new? Did you find value in the online, anytime delivery option for professional development? Is there anything from the sessions you might use in your classroom or professional learning? Include a link to the session in your post. Be sure to include "Thing 15" as part of your post title.

PART 2: Explore any other participant blog you wish. Be sure to check both portals, and leave TWO comments (on two different blogs) in response to any posts that interest you.