The K12 Online Conference is truly unbelievable opportunity for teacher learning and indeed student learning. This week many of the virtual aspects of this conference became a reality. Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach already wrote eloquently about our planning meeting and Wes Fryer and Sheryl offer a full recap of our presentation at NECC.
The more I think about the value of this conference, recall the stories shared during our presentation, I can’t believe what a powerful learning opportunity this is for all educators. While I’m sure others will find fault and criticize some of our efforts and decisions, I will, without hesitation, state that this is by far the best value for a professional learning conference you’ll ever find. I’d say that even if we charged $500 for the event. But it’s less than $500. It’s free.
The real magic of this conference is not only in the presentations. While these continue to provoke thinking and support for learners, here are what I think make the conference as good as it is:
- Connections. The story of Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay meeting via the conference and continuing to do the work they’ve done is one example. There are countless other examples of people who met during the conference and have continued a relationship well beyond the initial release dates of the presentations.
- Re-purposing. I’m excited about the way leaders have used the content to create unique learning festivals in their local contexts. Jeff Utecht’s LAN Party is one example. Listen to the video to hear him explain it more fully. I’m looking forward to more creative ways of using the content locally.
- Unlimited access. This is more than simply unlimited access to the content but unlimited access to the presenters. Again, there are many stories here but I’ve been able to make connections with Liz Kolb and her work with cellphones and been able to use her to support my work locally.
- Authentic Collaboration. The organization of this conference is done entirely online as well (except for the one evening that 3 of us were together). I’ve been overwhelmed with the response in the past 2 weeks of volunteers. Many have never done anything of this kind in working together to organize a virtual event. Being part of building and creating something real is a great experience and one that certainly transfers to our work with students.
There are likely oodles more stories out there of what this conference means. If you have a story, go ahead and leave a comment. We’ll likely take them and post them to the conference blog but we can start here.
I’ve also added a Skype video recording of our convener meeting. It’s unedited, 23 minutes long and mostly of Darren Kuropatwa‘s unshaven face. But here it is if you’re interested.