Monday, November 23, 2009

LOL -- Learning Online at the K12 Webased Conference

I'm planning my 2010 conference agenda this week and realised there's a great online event still to go in 2009, and that's K12 Online. I've joined the network in Ning. I've signed up on the "Frappr" map (can you find me?), posted a badge (see above), and provided a link to the list of archived pre-conference events (LAN parties that show parts of presentations from years past).

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K12 is all about forging connections without having to leave home. It's all about leveraging the power of internet tools to help educators learn from each other and figure out how to move their work with online tools and resources forward. This blurb from their website says it all.

As you can see, this thing is huge! I love the way it's spread over several months giving you time to try out one new tool or approach before you go to a session on another. As well, you can dialogue directly with presenters and other audience members over time to get help as you try to put these ideas into action.

The sample session I'm showing below is called "Kicking it up a Notch: Games in Education." Hosted by Dean Shareski (who hails from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan), this presentation by Sylvia Martinez makes a compelling case for using games as a motivational tool in classes. I particularly like what she had to say about simple games -- not specifically subject related -- being interesting ways of getting students to think about concepts. Using games that don't have specific subject connections takes more work on our part, but especially in math they become a metaphor that gives students the task of making a connection that will be memorable to them and leave a lasting 'neural imprint.'

This year's conference strands include:
  • Getting Started: using e-books, building a website, increasing interactivity
  • Leading the Change: deeper discussion on leadership and empowerment
  • A look at other people's classroom initiatives
  • Kicking It Up a Notch: enhancing instruction with more engaging instructional activities
If you're a first timer, there's a wiki just for you that covers everything from how to navigate through the K12 Online conference environment to how to obtain professional development credit for hours in attendance. They've thoughtfully provided a map (show below) in the wiki page to help with time zone conversions.

The one thing I'd add is that a USB mike and headset are really helpful. Sometimes when people connect to sessions using their computer sound system and then try to talk, there can be a lot of feedback or echoing. If you're going to attend more than one session and think you might want to dialogue online, this piece of equipment is worth the purchase price.

TTFN from the Pacific time zone. I hope to see you at the conference.

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