It’s amazing that in the palm of my hand, I can hold an ENTIRE educational conference.

K12Online08 in the palm of my hand

This afternoon, I went ahead and subscribed to both the K12Online08 video and audio podcast channels in iTunes in the iTunes library I use when I sync my iPhone. After subscribing, I clicked the “Podcasts” menu item in the left sidebar of iTunes, and viewed each channel. With two clicks on the GET ALL buttons for each podcast channel, 39 audio files and 35 video files (a total of 74 files in all) began the process of moving from the William and Mary “server in the sky” onto my computer and handhald smartphone.

41 presentations for K12Online08 with 1 click!

I’ve known how to subscribe to podcasts for several years now, but it still amazes me how powerful and straightforward podcast channels can be for content distribution like this. There were 41 different presentations in the 2008 K-12 Online Conference. Almost all of them were published as downloadable audio or video presentations. After clicking GET ALL, each of these files started downloading in turn to my computer and external hard drive:

Downloading ALL K12Online08 sessions...

After the downloads completed, this was what my K12Online08 video channel looked like:

All K12Online08 Video Presentations Downloaded!

…as well as audio channel:

All K12Online08 Audio Presentations Downloaded!

Until this evening, I had tested the functionality of the podcast channels after updating these feeds each day of the conference, but had not downloaded all of the sessions to my local hard drive. I had watched DotSub, Flash versions of presentation videos during the actual conference on my laptop, but doing so meant I was still TETHERED to my computer, just like this boat was tethered to the shore.

Weathered, Tethered
Creative Commons License photo credit: neurmadic aesthetic

Downloading audio and video podcasts to my iPhone, however, means that I am no longer “tethered” or confined to my computer. As a result, I was able watch and listen to H. Songhai’s presentation “What Did You Do in School Yesterday, Today, and Three Years Ago?” today in the the following park, as my kids played on the swings and ran around in the delightful fall weather:

Spring Hill Park

Shopping and waiting in the LONG Sunday afternoon lines at our local Wal-Mart this afternoon, I watched and listened to the first half of Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay’s keynote presentation from week 2, “Time to Grow.” Without access to a laptop, an iPhone (or iPod,) the Internet, and the K12Online08 podcast channels I would not have been able to learn from these amazing educators today away from my computer.

Our current era of personalized learning is both amazing and fun, but these reduced boundaries also mean there are more opportunities for people to learn about and be exposed to things online which previously might have been more difficult to encounter or find. For those with digital access AND knowledge about how to access free content, there are fewer limits to where and what we can learn than ever before in human history. This is empowering, but also underlines the critical need we have to intentionally develop capacities and dispositions for ethical technology use. While increasing numbers of educators are using technologies like mobile audio and video players to asynchronously attend and participate in conferences like K12Online, a recent study suggests that over HALF of U.S. teenagers today hide at least some of their Internet activities from their parents. According to the report released by McAfee last month:

63 per cent of teens said they know how to hide what they do online from their parents. 43 per cent have closed or minimized the browser at the sound of a parental step, 32 per cent have cleared the browser history when they have finished using the computer, 16 per cent have created private e-mail addresses or social networking profiles and 11 per cent have unlocked/disabled/ parental/filtering controls.

I’m thrilled to be able to have the entire 2008 K-12 Online Conference in the palm of my hand.

K12Online08 in the palm of my hand

I continue to be concerned, as should other parents, about the potentials for these technology tools to be abused and used in hurtful ways. Our best hope is to remain connected, keep learning, and keep having meaningful face-to-face conversations with our children and students each day.

What’s on your iPod or iPhone? If the answer isn’t “K12Online08,” go and subscribe to the podcast channels today! After all, the price is right: 100% free. 🙂

To read more about the referenced McAfee report, see the BusinessWire article “McAfee, Inc. Research Reveals Mothers Rate Cyber Dangers as High as Drunk Driving or Experimenting With Drugs,” David Burt’s Filtering Facts post “McAfee: 63 percent of teens hide what they do online; 11 percent disable filters, “ The Mom Salon’s post “McAfee’s Teen/ Mom Internet Safety Survey,” and Teen Checkup’s post “The 3 C’s.”

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  • Hey Wes — Thanks for the great instructions. I’ve been downloading the K12Online Presentations on my old video iPod for the entire conference.

    Thanks so much for the time you put in on k12. It’s amazing. Changing the world one teacher at a time!

  • It was a lot of fun being able to wake each day and download a few presentations to my iPod. How great to be able to take the inspiration with you wherever you go.

  • You are most welcome Alex, but there are LOTS of folks to thank besides me for sure. I was glad to play a part. I am also glad the conference is over– so is my family! Now, however, I think we have great opportunities to share the content and ideas of the conference with others. I’m hoping our PD committee will work on some strategies for that in the weeks ahead…

  • Splish, splash, I was taking a bath…..hey technology you can use in a bathtub!!! I like this post – thanks Wes, I am old school sometimes – my kids have iPods but I don’t (well you know….scarce resources….things go to the kids first). This would be a wonderful poster image ……a hand reaching out from the bubbles in the jacuzzi bathtub, holding an iPod that is glowing & alive… Hmmm how much are iPods??? Can we provide one – preloaded with K12 Online to all the school boards to “lend out” to interested but maybe reluctant parties….. with a link to this post too!!! Great job!

  • Gail: I think the idea of pre-loading K-12 Online content onto iPods is a GREAT idea. I am going to suggest this to some Apple folks I know… the licensing terms are there to allow this, and it would be great to facilitate folks seeing the content all aggregated on their devices– I am thinking it would be great to have some videos from the conference included on iPods demoed in the Apple Store… is that too big of a dream to wish for?!

    As far as reaching out of a bathtub… I think you’d need a waterproof case like the ones made by H2O Audio to do that– certainly doable, but you’d need something extra to keep an iPod safe in a water environment!

  • Wonderful, great information here. At last a really good use for my iPhone.

    thanks.

  • BTW, Go Red Raiders! Guns up!

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  • Thanks, Wes, for the reminder…I was on vacation and mostly offline during this year’s conference and have been trying to get caught up. Having it all on my iPod will really help. It will make my afternoon walks a professional development session!

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