In this blog post, I will review two K-12 Online Conference presentations from the past year’s archives. My reason for focusing on the past sessions, rather than the present, is based on the following professional development assumptions.
Some educators, that are new to the K-12 Online Conference, may peruse this year’s presentation descriptions and perhaps feel somewhat intimidated by the sophistication and knowledge of the presenters. However, I have always maintained that all educators, like their respective students, are travelling along their own personal learning continuum. As such, it is important to find professional development sessions that meet each individual’s current needs. Perhaps, equally important, is that the learning opportunity arrives “just in time” or when the learner is most receptive. When one finds timely, professional development sessions with a “good fit”, there is a much better chance that such opportunities will help educators move forward in their learning and encourage a willingness to try new strategies, applications, and resources.
As I indicated in my last post, the K-12 Online Conference provides professional development opportunities through a powerful instructional video mechanism which facilitates investigation when the individual learner is “ready”. Furthermore, unlike a traditional keynote speaker who delivers his/her message and then exits the stage, these video learning opportunities are conveniently archived for review as far back as 2006. Such wide ranging video learning opportunities can be perused, played, and even paused (to note a particular interesting web resource address) as one extracts the relevant and meaningful message. In addition to the archived videos there are also very important supporting resources and applications that should be investigated as well. True, you might think that when you review a video presentation created for the 2007 K-12 Online Conference, that you are three years “behind the times”. Not so …, I contend. Regardless of one’s position along their personal timeline, one doesn’t stagnate when one tries to implement new ideas. Furthermore, when one reviews a K-12 Online Conference video and related resources created in 2007, one can be assured that the message still has applicability and the related computer applications have improved dramatically over the past three years and now have so many more educational features.
Now that these assumptions have been identified, I will continue by briefly outlining two rather interesting, archived, K-12 Online Conference presentations from the past.
K-12 Online Conference theme for 2008
I chose to look at an introductory or “Getting Started” keynote entitled “How Can I Become Part of this ReadWriteWeb Revolution?” I was immediately set at ease as I watched three educators, Alice Barr, Cheryl Oakes and Bob Sprankle, sitting outdoors, sharing their educational insights with their video audience in a rather down-to-earth manner. As they talked about introducing technology to students, each educator held up a “flip video” and captured the dialogue and expressions of their colleagues in a very conversational manner.
They agreed that VoiceThread was an excellent mechanism for helping educators begin to learn about technology and utilize web 2.0 applications with their students. I liked Bob’s comment, which I am paraphrasing, when he stated that …
bringing in these technologies (e.g. flip video units) has a transformational effect that can help educators move out of their comfort zone and patterns of what they have been doing for years. When you hand out a flip video to your students, you no longer control learning and no longer are you the gatekeeper of knowledge.
These three educators have formed a professional learning network called the “seedlings” and I encourage other educators to connect with them.
K-12 Online Conference theme for 2009
“Bridging the Divide”
Each of the video presentations in the K-12 Online Conference is filled with a wealth of pedagogical information. Indeed, some use amazing techniques to get the message across to the audience in a meaningful manner. My favourite instructional video presentation has to be last year’s “Getting Started” keynote by Joyce Valenza entitled “The Wizard of Apps” which is embedded below:
Joyce uses a very unique video presentation to share her message in an entertaining and informative manner. I encourage readers to view Joyce’s additional “Backstory to the Wizard of Apps” where one can appreciate the collaborative endeavour that went into producing this remarkable instructional video. Undoubtedly, the creation of this video engaged students who were passionate about performing and producing this polished presentation.
This 'new tools workshop' wiki resource, is a 'one stop shop' for educators ...
However, learning is not limited to the actual K-12 Online Conference video presentations. Rather, dedicated presenters like Joyce Valenza often provide a wealth of extensive additional resources. Not only does Joyce supply links to her presentation slides, she also supplies a link to her “new tools workshop” wiki which provides a plethora of possibilities for educators who want to explore the potential of using web 2.0 applications in their classrooms. This “new tools workshop” wiki resource, is a “one stop shop” for educators wishing to explore applications that will engage students and enhance classroom teaching. With this presentation and her accompanying resources, Joyce and her students, have set the bar high for future presenters.
I trust that I have demonstrated that the K-12 Online Conference archives of 2009, 2008, 2007 & 2006, contain relevant educational ideas and resources, that interested teachers can learn from, long after the video presentations were first shared online.
In closing, let me challenge readers to take action in the manner suggested in Dean Shareski’s 2010 keynote “Sharing: The Moral Imperative”. When we find educational resources that help us to better “teach and reach” students, we make time to share these ideas with others. I just did … and I trust you will too.
Take care & keep smiling