Saturday we had a GREAT initial, synchronous event for the 2009 K-12 Online Conference, thanks to the hard work of our 2009 Live Events Committee and the great folks at EdTechTalk. My six year old daughter had her birthday party at the Oklahoma City Zoo early that afternoon, so I missed the first half of the event, but I was able to enjoy and participate in the final two of four presentations during the LAN party. The following is a screenshot of Mark Wagner‘s “Wiki While You Work (Basic)” presentation for the 2006 K-12 Online Conference. Mark was “live” on Skype for Saturday’s rebroadcast of his 2006 presentation, which was shared via Ustream and Camtwist by EdTechTalk. The presentation video is shown on the left side of the image below. You can see the EdTechTalk backchannel window on the right side. We heard about the first twenty minutes of Mark’s presentation on Saturday over EdTechTalk.

Listening to Eva and Mark Wagner discussing wikis (EdTechTalk - K12Online09 Live)

The term “LAN party” has a slightly different “normal” definition than our context for K-12 Online, since our focus was not online gaming. The current English WikiPedia definition for “LAN Party” is:

… a temporary, sometimes spontaneous, gathering of people with computers, between which they establish a local area network (LAN), primarily for the purpose of playing multiplayer computer games. The size of these networks may vary from the very small (two people) to very large (more than 10,000) installations. Small parties can form spontaneously, but large ones usually require a fair amount of planning and preparation.

For our context for K-12 Online, our LAN party focus was replaying / watching past presentations from the conference while synchronously text chatting in the EdTechTalk backchannel. In advance, at times during (when we had a technical hiccup) and following the presentation approximately five panelists interacted “live” via Skype with the actual presenter of each K12Online session, and “gave voice” to questions and comments which came up from others in the text backchannel.

On Skype with EdTechTalk K12Online09 Live

This proved to be a GREAT synchronous event for multiple reasons. We have over 120 presentations on the K-12 Online Conference site at this point, freely available to anyone worldwide. With so much great content archived, however, an enduring challenge is how to revisit those presentations, bring them to the attention of educators worldwide on a continuing basis, and provide rich, interactive opportunities for past presenters to engage with a worldwide audience focusing on their presentation ideas. It is also important, in my view, for educators to provide face-to-face “meetup opportunities” with other teachers, librarians, and administrators our local, personal networks to experience this live, “blended” model of professional development. This LAN party model offers a WONDERFUL way to meet these goals.

It was FANTASTIC to listen to Kathy Cassidy‘s presentation from the K12Online08 “Prove It” strand, titled “We Like Our Blogging Buddies: The Write Stuff with Blogging Mentors” on Saturday.

In 2008 we started using the website DotSub to provide flash-embeddable versions of K-12 Online Conference presentations, as well as the opportunity for volunteers to provide multilingual subtitles. I hope part of our plan in the months ahead will be to cross-post content from the 2007 and 2006 conferences to DotSub as well, so this flash-embed option will also be available for those presentations.

It was fantastic to hear directly from Kathy’s primary age-students during her presentation about the blogging mentors project.

Listening to Kathy Cassidy's students talk about blogging on EdTechTalk K12Online09 Live

This was a particularly compelling presentation because it not only included student voices and the perspectives of a classroom teacher, but also the research findings of Dr Patrick Lewis who has partnered with Kathy for this project several years.

Listening to Kathy Cassidy and Patrick on Blogging Buddies

If you did not have an opportunity to participate in our September 26th LAN party, it looks like the K12Online09 Live Events committee will be hosting another one in late October. More details will be coming soon on the K-12 Online Conference website.

Kudos as well to Mathew Needleman and Dr. Alec Couros, who also shared their past K12Online presentations during the first half of Saturday’s LAN party. Mathew shared his K12Online08 presentation, “Film School For Video Podcasters.”

Alec shared his K12Online08 presentation, “Open, Social, Connected: Reflections of an Open Graduate Course Experience.”

All four of Saturday’s presentations are archived on the EdTechTalk Ustream channel and can be played back at your leisure. :-) Thanks to everyone who made Saturday’s LAN party not only possible but also a big success!

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  • http://ideasandthoughts.org Dean Shareski

    Great idea for leading into K12Online09. Congrats to you and your committee.

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