It’s amazing that in the palm of my hand, I can hold an ENTIRE educational conference.
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.
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:
After the downloads completed, this was what my K12Online08 video channel looked like:
…as well as audio channel:
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.
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:
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.
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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- Panoramic iPhone images from Hangzhou, China - 2009
- Help evaluate the 2008 K-12 Online Conference - 2008
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