Finally, A Conference I Can Get To…

My sinuses have been playing up, and I'm currently suffering the worst hayfever since the early nineties. Back then, I was teaching in Port Augusta, gateway to the Outback and from late winter the dry northerlies would bring down the red dust from the direction of Woomera and beyond. Moving back to Adelaide and a milder (and less dust laden) climate has seen things settle down in my nasal regions over the past decade but the record dry here in South Australia has my nose, eyes and throat in a time warp.

So, I'm wondering if the cooler New Zealand weather would be kinder to my current state of health. Kicking back with the likes of Leigh, Alex, Stephen, Jo Kay and even Artichoke at the amazing The Future of Learning in a Networked World travelling open space conference would be pretty good. In my conversation with Alex the other evening, he described the whole event as "lo-fi" - in a good way. If I could somehow put my current life on pause, then this would be a great event to attend. The line up of thinkers and e-learning experts in tow is phenomenal - just check out the list on the right hand side of the official blog. Leigh Blackall is the mastermind behind this "unconference roadshow" and it is a masterful example of social networking and flat collaboration. For 10 days across a range of venues over the Shaky Isles, taking in the eFest in Wellington as well and talking e-learning with all and sundry at the various visits and events along the way. Even Artichoke who is not associated all that much with TALO (not that I'm all that active there either) signed on the other day. So my challenge is to participate virtually, reading the blog, checking out the wiki, sign up for the The Future of Learning in a Networked World Google Group and check out the Flickr feed. Not quite as good as being there but I'm not missing out totally.

Then there's the Global Summit coming up in October. That looks awesome but at A$795 a head plus airfare plus accommodation to get to Sydney and stay (not including my release from my work for that time) it's beyond my reach unless someone from educationau reads this blog, takes pity on me and offers sponsorship in exchange for massive live blogging of the event. Never mind, Al Upton will be there (I think) and I hope he gets to go to Leigh Blackall's session there and say "G'day" for me.

But there is a great conference available at a price that suits me and won't cause any ripples to my family life routine - the K-12 Online Conference. I still have to read more thoroughly about how it's all going to work and it has received a fair bit of publicity around the edublogosphere. On Sunday afternoon, I checked my home desktop for e-mail and saw that Wesley Fryer had shared his Skype details with me and was online at the time, 11.40 pm his time. (Don't you just love my blogger name dropping!) I had to say "G'day" and after a quick exchange of pleasantries, Wesley asked if I had considered submitting something for the K-12. I had never even considered that I'd submit anything but as Wes is in charge of the Overcoming Obstacles strand, he got me thinking that maybe I should give some thought to participating in this way. The deadline is Sept. 30 so if I make sure that I attend to my own local school priorities, it could be a goer. Anyway, it promises to be really good with keynote podcasts, online resources and heaps of great learning. And while on the topic of Wes, I appreciated his pointer to a great resource for use in the primary school classroom, Mission Possible: Successful Online Research - an online video produced by I used it this afternoon with my class on the ACTIVboard after our Go-Go golf session was rained on (ironic, considering how I started this post) and the kids were engaged and pulled some good pointers from it. Even though, someone muttered under their breath towards the end that they thought it was an extended infomercial for!! At least it's something educationally useful being plugged - a resource that helps kids to gain and sort through the information overload of the web is a resource that teachers should become familiar with. Hope there's more in the information literacy vein at the K-12 Online Conference. See you there.

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