On a chilly Florida night, Andrea Hernandez. and I hosted the 2nd Annual Jacksonville K12online Conference LAN Party. About 20 educators from 4 schools gathered in the computer lab of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School to learn about the K12Online Conference, watch a few presentations and talk about the changing landscape of teaching and learning.
I am amazed at and grateful for the willingness of colleagues around the world to share their practices, experiences and thoughts by creating presentations to share freely with anyone.
We met at 7 pm and after a brief introduction of K12Online Conference, which only a handful of the teachers present had heard of, we watched Kelly Hines’ presentation Little Kids, Big Possibilities together as a group.
I am even more convinced of the power of having a learning network, when one can ask the presenters of the K12Online Conference to stay up late or wake up early in order to continue contributing to our learning by skyping into our face to face meeting.
Although Kelly’s presentation was about tools, such as Wallwisher, Wordle, Comiqs and Edmodo, her skyping in with us, talking to us from her home in North Carolina, having her two sons pop in and out of view, was what illustrated the true value of the learning for the evening (in my opinion). Kelly Hines is a fourth grade classroom teacher, as real and as busy as all of us. She finds the time to learn, collaborate and share her teaching journey with the world. She connects and exposes her students to tools, that allow them to be problem solvers, creators, thinkers and participants in a global community.
After our call with Kelly was over, everyone picked another presentation to watch and/or simply talk with each other. At 8:30 pm we were ready to skype in K12Online Keynote presenter, Kim Cofino, from Thailand. Kim’s presentation, Going Global: Culture Shock, Convergence, and the Future of Education, was simply brilliant.
She summarized it well for our group when she said:
Until you experience [the collaboration, the global connections]for yourself it does not really click in your mind, you really won’t understand why all these tools that we are talking about are so important and so powerful for learning.
This evening was about being able to show our local teachers, the ease and the accessibility of inviting other voices from across the world to exchange thoughts, ideas and grow as educators together.
It was not about technology, it was about learning with and from each other regardless of location in time and space. It was about bringing awareness to:
- “real” teachers are doing “it”. They are moving towards embedding technology to facilitate learning.
- teaching and learning has to change in our schools, adjust, be flexible and adapt to accommodate a new kind of learner and a new kind of “reality” that exists outside of school.
- the reasons why there is a need embrace change.
Kim so eloquently says:
We are at a shift in society, where the ways we use technology has changed so drastically and so rapidly that it is difficult for education to keep up. My fear is that if we don’t keep up and embrace the new ways of communicating and collaborating, schools as we know them will be eclipsed by something else.
Links to all K12Online 2009 presentations.
- Keeping the Literacy in 21st Century Literacies by Drew Schrader
- Using Web 2.0 tools to teach ‘The Outsiders’ by Drew Buddie
- A Peek for a Week â€“ Inside a Kiwi Junior Classroom by Rachel Boyd
- Show & Tell: Exhibit, Reflect & Critique with Blogs by Sarah Sutter
- The Digital Writer’s Workshop by Jackie Gerstein
- Engaging Our Youngest Minds by Angela Maiers
- Parallel Play or Collaborationâ€“Leveraging the Wiki Platform for High Quality Work by Paula White
- Around the World with Skype by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano