The "When Night Falls" concept was quite ambitious. Run a 24 hour Skype-a-thon with volunteer moderators all signing up from all around the globe into slots listed on the wiki. As the culminating event to the fortnight long K-12 Online Conference, it was an opportunity for anyone involved in the conference - organiser, presenter or participant to meet together in a virtual space and chat at a time convenient to them. There was a chat venue provided at Tapped In and each Skype call covered an hour before reconvening in the next Skypecast with the next moderator. I first checked in at about 1.30 pm via the chatroom where Jennifer Wagner was about to launch her hosted hour. The kids were requiring my attention so I didn't don my headset and join in at that time. It was a very pleasant afternoon so we ended up taking the boys out to a playground and I didn't go back online until 8.30 pm. I ended up staying on for about two and a half hours and crossed paths with some fabulous educators in that time. The first hour was capably moderated by Vinny Green, and I had the pleasure of talking to the enthused and energetic Glenn E. Malone. He seemed to epitomise the ultimate K-12 Conference participant as he described the various presentations he had viewed and his pride at being in the winning team for Vicki Davis' wiki competition. Unfortunately for me, he assumed that because I'd produced a presentation on Overcoming Obstacles, that I'd have some words of wisdom worth sharing about spreading the word of online technology. I was less than eloquent in my response but it was excellent to make his acquaintance along with Chris Harbeck, a Maths teacher from Winnipeg, Canada who hosted the following hour. He got up at some unbelievable hour in the early Canadian morning to do this and his first ten minutes of Skype moderation was plagued by "human spam" - an unwelcome racist, Skypecast surfers looking to practice their English skills and an annoying Aussie who kept announcing, "Hey, I got a story to tell!" Once Chris cornered him, muted the non-participants and took a few minutes to get a well earned cup of coffee from his kitchen, there was some great conversation before the next hour started more quietly with Chris Betcher, Aussie teacher on exchange in Canada. Shortly, after a short time, it was time for me to say goodbye quietly via the chatroom as to not disturb the conversation unfolding and head to bed.
My Learning Network continues to widen.
What fun we all had. I think what I enjoyed the most was the comaraderie- no moderator was required to handle the technical aspects alone, and the conversation moved along whether the moderator jumped in or not. I loved the parallel chat, which later in the day was a great help when the Skypecast got screwy and we had to drop it and restart, with Glenn handling the mics while someone else moderated. (sorry- I forget who…) (BTW- that’s a great plan- we should consider that type of setup for “When Night Starts Free Falling.”
All of the folks in the room were experts at something. Whether they were the line teachers who were struggling with the initial implementation of technologies, or the experienced tech leader who seems to do it with ease, their voice was important to the conversation. CIO’s and Directors can get too far from the day-to-day, and the voice crying in the wilderness is a clarion call. That voice is teaching us the things we long ago forgot. They are the experts in what works in their classroom. No one else can tell them any different.
Thanks for joining my call. I loved it!
Hi Grehem –
I don’t feel bad that you missed my hour time slot because having fun with your family is so important. Grins, and I know we will have many more times to connect.
Thanks for putting the entire Fireside chat into exactly the same way I feel about it……..what a place for synergy and collaboration. And what new contacts– hmmm perhaps friends, we have made.
Enjoy your day!
ps — it was great fun sharing a mike with you today when we skyped with Wes in Hawaii. 🙂
Thanks for all the help and great comments during my tenure as “moderator”. I love the ideas you blog about and and always enjoy seeing the bold in my bloglines account to tell me that you have new ideas to spread. Keep up the good fight. Your welcome in my house anytime if you ever get up to the Great White North. When Night Freefalls will happen soon I hope you can participate.