Opportunities to Learn and Connect

With the advent of the Internet and the new tools which many of you have begun to be exposed to, there are a opportunities for you to learn about new technologies and to cultivate new relationships with people around the world. Many of these conferences allow for asynchronous communication, which means that you can download audio files and read transcripts or participate in threaded discussions when you have the time to do so.
I am going to highlight two which are online and one which is a local, face-to-face experience.

Learning 2.0 Conference – Shanghai, China

Beginning Saturday at 9:00 a.m. in Shanghai, China (Friday night at 8:00 p.m. local time), Jeff Utecht (The Thinking Stick) is hosting the Learning 2.0 Conference (learning2cn.ning.com). This is a face-to-face conference which is going to offer many opportunities for you participate, even in Chicago. There are going to be several great presenters, including Will Richardson (Weblogg-Ed), Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach (21st Century Learning), and Wes Fryer (Moving at the Speed of Creativity).  I know that I will be checking out the activity at this conference, which is being attended by many teachers in the Pacific Rim area.

K12 Online Conference

With a keynote which will be released October 8th, and 40 sessions (4 a day over a two week period, Monday through Friday), the second K12 Online Conference (k12onlineconference.org) is experience which is held entirely online. You can invest as much time as you choose in viewing the presentations (click for a list of presentations). Their are four strands to the conference:

  • Classroom 2.0 – week of October 15th
  • New Tools -week of October 15th
  • Professional Learning Networks – week of October 22nd
  • Obstacles to Opportunities – week of October 22nd

In addition, there will be four experiences which will allow participants to connect, three chat sessions (one after the keynote and two at the end of each week) in which presiders will answer questions about their sessions. The culminating event, When Night Falls, provides a 24 hour long marathon conference call which allows people from around the world to connect and share their experiences. It is a great place to meet and connect with other educators around the globe. I will share more information about these experiences and the conference as we get closer.

Northern Illinois Computer Educators (NICE)

The NICE group facilitates face-to-face meetings throughout the year at local schools. The meetings begin at 4:30 with a presentation beginning at 5:00 p.m. The first meeting of the year is this Thursday, September 20th. The topic will be “Orientation to Second Life” and be held at New Trier High School, Northfield Campus; registration & light dinner at 4:30 pm; meeting at 5:00 pm*  (For those of you already “in world” look for the NICE SL Group. To join, or for more information, contact Miche Nishi in world, or Michelle Russell outside of world, at mrussell@eps.n- cook.k12.il.us.) For those of you who do not know about Second Life, it is an online virtual world which you create an avatar and can interact with others in this world. It was the largest topic of conversation about emerging technologies at the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) this summer. I am beginning to dabble in it, when I have a chance.

I hope that you take advantage of some of these learning activities. It will be time well spent.

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