Wow this is exciting! Last night’s Elluminate discussion with David Warlick and 49 other educators around the globe was great, but it is perhaps even more exciting to see how many more people around the world are turning into the K-12 Online Conference and joining the conversation online!

ClustrMap for K12Online06

Sheryl said tonight that our Elluminate room is limited to 50 people, but we had over 170 “knocks at the door” for people to join! Wow! In case you missed the discussion, Sheryl did post a link to the full, archived version in Elluminate to the “Live Events” page of the conference blog.

Also, the conveners have created a conference wiki (http://k12online06.wikispaces.com) for participants to collaboratively author. As the blog page about the wiki states:

This is YOUR wiki.

Please feel free to add pages and resources that relate to the four strands of the conference. If you have a presentation or resource that would be of interest around these topics then …PLEASE share. If you wanted to submit an abstract or if you submitted one that wasn’t chosen by our blind review committees- then share it here! Let’s all build together and see what an incredible time we can have.

I commented this evening in a skype discussion with Darren and Sheryl how VERY exciting this conference is on many fronts, but primarily because it exemplifies ideas about OPEN CONTENT that I’ve been hearing about, thinking about, and writing about for some time now.

I had a conversation yesterday with a librarian at a technology conference that was enlightening in this regard. She was upset at the suggestion that students should be using WikiPedia, because she felt only credentialed people (folks with PhDs) should have the ability to author reference materials. This drove home the point to me that many inside and outside education may disagree at a fundamental level with a premise of David Warlick’s pre-conference keynote for K-12 Online: that authentic education is a conversation. Many people don’t believe this, and many teachers don’t seem to want students to talk at all. They just want them to listen, take notes, and take their tests. Ironically perhaps, by the time students finish 13 years of compulsory education, most of them are conditioned to believe that this “transmission model” of education is normatively what “school” should look, feel, and taste like. This is likely our biggest obstacle to educational reform: Everyone has been to school for some amount of time, and they consider themselves (based on their own extensive experiences) to be experts. This is one of the biggest questions I am personally grappling with right now: How can we engage more school board members, superintendents, principals, legislators and others in conversations that will expand (and in some cases transform) their personal visions for what teaching and learning should look like in the 21st century? I don’t know the answer to that, but I am looking.

The takeaway for me is that we need to continue to invite more people into these conversations. The idea that students should “collaboratively create knowledge together” in school is a radical one for many. That is what constructivist learning theory is all about, from what I understand of it, and many people JUST DON’T GET IT or don’t want to “buy it” as a theory and a principle which guides everyday practice.

On that topic, I found an excellent website on “Student Centered Learning” theory and instructional design suggestions from Oklahoma State University’s Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence today. I think the K-12 Online Conference is going to provide some great opportunities for all of us to actually experience different ways of learning online, asynchronously and synchronously. David has already provided us with many examples of “best practices” I think! His idea of creating a wiki and inviting people to share their own notes (which an amazing number of people already have) is superb.

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  • It would be nice to have a way of tracking the towns that are participating in an attempt to create our own cohort support groups to promote Web 2.0 education in our immediate areas. I would love to know if others are participating from my small area of Texas. Viva le’ revolution.

  • Hi Scott,

    You can! Check out the conference blog. At the top you’ll see a tab marked Frappr Map. Add yourself in. 😉 Here’s the direct link:
    http://www.frappr.com/k12online06

    Cheers!
    Darren

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