The 2007 K-12 Online Conference is officially underway! David Warlick’s pre-conference keynote, “Inventing the New Boundaries,” is available in both audio and video formats for download on the conference blog.

David Warlick at EduBloggerCon

This year we’ve setup two podcast feed channels, one audio-only and one with video versions of published presentations. Not all conference presentations will be available in a video form, but all should be available in an audio form. Many volunteers are working hard on improving accessibility for the content of this year’s conference. One aspect of this work, with which I am involved, is providing an audio-only podcast feed of presentations for faster downloads relative to the larger video files. There are many other aspects to accessibility of course, and I am appreciative of the work of many volunteers on the accessibility committee as well as others for the conference. Committee members for the 2007 K-12 Online Conference are listed on the “about” page of the conference blog.

Last year we used the free web service Podchains to create 2 different podcast/web feeds for 2006 conference presentations. That worked, but Podchains (at least at that time) did not support Feedburner. This year, we are using the RSS Feed Creation software FeedForAll (specifically I’m using the Mac version) to create our two podcast / web feeds. FeedForAll creates XML text files which are published to our conference blog, and those feeds are then “burned” by Feedburner. Feedburner improves the accessibility for the feeds, allowing them to be displayed in non-feed compatible web browsers, and also tracks subscribers as well as podcast enclosure click-throughs.

Each co-convener for the conference has different responsibilities. One of mine is putting links and text info for each presentation into both the audio and video podcast feeds for the conference. I’ll be getting those links added to the feed as soon as I can each day of the main conference, which starts next Monday. The feeds currently include just an introductory message (which was needed to initially create the feeds) as well as versions of David’s pre-conference keynote. The podcast feeds have been registered with the iTunes podcast directory but are not showing up there yet, I’d expect them to be approved for listing in iTunes early this week.

As co-conveners we considered using a more automated way of publishing each presentation into podcast feeds, using the RSS feeds automatically created by our WordPress blog for different categories. We opted not to do that, however, since we want both an audio and video podcast channel this year, and the RSS standard supports 1 enclosure per post (and that would require multiple posts to the main conference blog for presentations with more than one presentation file.) As with many things (including professional development credit for the conference) we’re striving to make incremental improvements, so hopefully this podcast feed setup will work well and better than last year.

For the fastest access to updates about the 2007 K-12 Online Conference, follow the K12Online Twitter feed! The full conference presentation schedule is available online, and links there are being updated as presentations are published. Note that page includes specific tags for each presentation, which we encourage you to use if you’re blogging about sessions (in addition to the K12online07 tag.) To follow the blog conversations about the conference, use the HitchHikr link for the 2007 K-12 Online Conference. A subscription feed for the main conference blog, where presentation links are posted first, is also available.

The K-12 Online Conference has started! Please encourage other teachers you know (especially those who haven’t attended before and will be “first-timers”) to participate! :-)

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