I love conferences. But even as someone who has made a presentation or ten at various events (admittedly, I get way too excited about sharing ideas in any format), it’s usually the conversations outside the presentation rooms that count. However, whatever your motivation, the rising cost of travel (and it ain’t easy to get anywhere from New Brunswick by plane!), shrinking school and district budgets and personal time/money crunches leaves less and less opportunities for teachers to develop networks face to face.
With this cruch, on-line professional development opportiunities are becoming more and more prevalent, not to mention necessary. Many commercial operations are offering fee for learning opportunities to connect, but the grassroots, volunteer-driven movement of the annual K-12 Online Conference (click on tag in right side-bar) far exceeds anything offered by the corporate world. Whether it’s due to the commitment of the educators involved in the organization or the wide-spread viewpoints and special interests of the volunteer presenters, K-12 Online offers a valuable community-based opportunity for learners to connect.
It all starts next Monday with a keynote by international educator Kim Cofino (with whom I co-managed last years 1001 Flat World Tales collaborative writing project). I am especially excited to hear what Kim has to say and follow up (hopefully) in the post-keynote discussions with other educators.
It’s all about the conversations – whether it’s on-line or face to face. Maybe I’ll gather a few friends around the old radio set (aka laptop) and tune in with some cold ones and pretzels.
Let the learning begin.