I'm beginning to think that I'm starting to sound like the Grinch in my comments across the web when it comes to reflecting on the K-12 Online Conference and the events incorporated within. So, before readers think that I'm a glass-is-half-empty type of guy, I'm going to list a few of my impressions and hopes for the future in general:-
I really enjoyed the second Fireside chat featuring Anne Davis and Ewan McIntosh. I enjoyed the schoolroom style humour, but have to admit that I need to re-listen to the audio to have even the faintest chance of remembering what either keynoter said! I talked about the audience factor over at Mark Ahlness' blog - so, won't it be great in the future when we can all host our own fireside chats with the same talented folks participating in smaller groups?
As to Graham's comments--
"...although the format really placed most people in the role of audience"
Please know we so struggled with how to format in a way that honored the keynoters and presenters for their time and energy and still give everyone equal voice-- all in under an hour.
We simply decided that the fireside chats would be like an "ice cream social" or edublogger "meet-up"-- allowing connections to be made and deepened but certainly not serving the purpose of deep reflection and profound solutions.
I personally would adore the kinds of exploration of ideas and issues on an equal footing that Graham describes and have in various Skypecasts I have attended.
In fact, we are hoping the 24 hour "When Night Falls" culminating event of the K12 Online Conference should be very much like what Graham is envisioning.
There's been a lot of talk about the international flavour of the Conference - check the Frappr map that Darren sent during the first Fireside Chat. Won't it be great in the future when the busy cluster across the North American continent is replicated all over the rest of the world map?
The accumulated presentations are wonderful resources and wil be an excellent repository of starting points for getting colleagues started at the local level. I think the jewel of the presentations that I have checked out so far (and there are still heaps to go) is Clarence Fisher's insightful and totally brilliant Globally Literate. My favourite quote from his presentation:
"...you need to find networks that already exist and join with them, find people that will challenge you, that would be meaningful for you, that are authentic for you..."
Won't it be great in the future when (a) the teachers in your staffroom know what you're talking about and (b) they want your help to submit their own presentation!
Also, a couple more:
- Won't it be great in the future when people have a solid understanding of the different education systems worldwide so that localised acronyms, initiatives and phrases don't cloud the information being shared?
- Won't it be great in the future when the technology becomes so embedded, so interwoven and so easy for anyone to use that the K-12 presentations focus solely about learning and how to facilitate it successfully in any K-12 classroom anywhere in the world?
I'm happy that I'm involved in this conference. There is an old cliché that rings true - if you aren't part of the solution, then you're part of the problem. Time for the Grinch to start rephrasing his comments and blog posts, I think.
Photo Attribution: Image: 'grinchmas 4' www.flickr.com/photos/49502981712@N01/2475866