Via educationau, I found out that Jimmy Wales will be the feature speaker at their 2007 seminar series - Challenging how knowledge is created. Last year I got to see Marc Prensky as part of the 2006 seminars. His visit sparked off a lot of local discussion and his influence was felt in a number of ways in the way I used some of his analogies with my staff, and some of the wider discussion in the education community. The cost to see Jimmy Wales is set at $300 a head, plus the cost of being released from the classroom for the day. There could be a lot of value in say, my school's teacher-librarian, going along as the whole concept of authority of source and the new nature of knowledge is a real challenge to the way the vast majority of South Australian school libraries operate. But, for me personally, I have to question whether that cost is really worth it. After all, would his message be substantially different to anything that has already been recorded in digital form that I can access and view at my leisure on the web? There's his presentation on TED Talks, a recent one - Jimmy Wales Gives Talk on Free Culture, Transparency, and Search - from earlier this month, on Cnet (excuse the compulsory Microsoft ad at the beginning) and Vision: Wikipedia and the Future of Free Culture from Fora TV. Then there's the mass of information in text form on him and his work and the actual project, Wikipedia, the main reason he is coming to Australia. Will a seat at the Adelaide Hilton give me an experience worth the pricetag? Or is it really for those who won't hear his message any other way? It's not as if I'll get to talk to and exchange ideas with the man himself. However, early next month I can go to an event for no monetary outlay, and actually have conversations with regional big picture thinkers instead. What represents the best value for time and money in terms of future directions in education?
Attribution: Image: 'Jimbo' by thomaswanhoff www.flickr.com/photos/51035727839@N01/25154480