No Time4 Online Conference

Welcome to this professional learning opportunity for educators in New Zealand and overseas. Explore examples of collaborative online learning and the application of Web 2.0 technologies in teaching and learning. Access audio and video links and support material, and participate in collaborative areas. The keynotes and workshops will be released between 28 May and 8 June, and available beyond this time.

I encourage you to checkout the keynote presentations and workshops available from this FREE on-line conference. The first day of the conference was May 28th. When I first read about the event, I thought to myself, “Okay, Monday I’ll check this out.” I was not thinking globally, about it being from New Zealand. So Sunday I was surprised to find the conference had kicked off, until I realized my tomorrow is today in New Zealand.

This is the second free, on-line conference that I’ve attended, the 2006 K12 Online Conference being the first. This is Professional Development on your terms. Did I mention it is FREE? I love these things. At my convenience, I listen to and watch the presentations from my patio, pause to get the clothes out the dryer, go back the next day and access another presentation. I can rewind when I need to, capture shared images, contemplate the ideas, and use the information to simultaneously blog and share with others.

The round one keynote was by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach with 3 sections. Here are my takeaways from Part I:

  • Members of the work force will be valued not for what they know, but what they can invent. It’s not so much about what knowledge you have acquired, but what you can create.
  • Technology is a portal for connecting, collaborating, and empowering. It’s not about the tool itself, but choosing the appropriate tools for different situations.
  • Society is changing and schools are not keeping up. For the sake of the children, it is time to change the way we teach. Sheryl urges us to rethink how we organize our schools, how learning occurs, and what teaching strategies should be used.

Four areas to consider

  • Students must be Multiliterate
  • Changing Demographic of the Student Population
  • Student must be Active Content Creators
  • Collaboration and Communication are Key

In Part II Sheryl discusses how blogs, wikis, Skype, RSS, and Cluster Maps can be used in the classroom. Part III includes interviews from 3 classroom teachers, Lisa Durff a MS/HS teacher from Maryland, Allanah King from New Zealand who teaches year 4 and 5 students, and Darren Kuropatwa a HS Math teacher from Canada. These teachers talk about using these tools in their classrooms. With one click, Elluminate Live is launched and you can listen to the audio of the interview, view the presenter’s slides, and interact on the website being displayed.

Check it out. I’m confident that you won’t be disappointed.

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K-12 Online 2007: Call for Proposals!

Announcing the second annual “K12 Online” conference for teachers, administrators and educators around the world interested in the use of Web 2.0 tools in classrooms and professional practice! This year’s conference is scheduled to be held over two weeks, October 15-19 and October 22-26 of 2007, and will include a preconference keynote during the week of October 8. This years conference theme is “Playing with Boundaries.” A call for proposals is below.

There will be four “conference strands”– two each week. Two presentations will be published in each strand each day, Monday – Friday, so four new presentations will be available each day over the course of the two-weeks. Each presentation will be given in any of a variety of downloadable, web based formats and released via the conference blog ( and archived for posterity.

Week 1
Strand A: Classroom 2.0
Leveraging the power of free online tools in an open, collaborative and transparent atmosphere characterises teaching and learning in the 21st century. Teachers and students are contributing to the growing global knowledge commons by publishing their work online. By sharing all stages of their learning students are beginning to appreciate the value of life long learning that inheres in work that is in “perpetual beta.” This strand will explore how teachers and students are playing with the boundaries between instructors, learners and classrooms. Presentations will also explore the practical pedagogical uses of online social tools (Web 2.0) giving concrete examples of how teachers are using the tools in their classes.

Strand B: New Tools
Focusing on free tools, what are the “nuts and bolts” of using specific new social media and collaborative tools for learning? This strand includes two parts. Basic training is “how to” information on tool use in an educational setting, especially for newcomers. Advanced training is for teachers interested in new tools for learning, looking for advanced technology training, seeking ideas for mashing tools together, and interested in web 2.0 assessment tools. As educators and students of all ages push the boundaries of learning, what are the specific steps for using new tools most effectively? Where “Classroom 2.0″ presentations will focus on instructional uses and examples of web 2.0 tool use, “New Tools” presentations should focus on “nuts and bolts” instructions for using tools. Five “basic” and five “advanced” presentations will be included in this strand.

Week 2
Strand A: Professional Learning Networks
Research says that professional development is most effective when it aims to create professional learning communities — places where teachers learn and work together. Using Web 2.0 tools educators can network with others around the globe extending traditional boundaries of ongoing, learner centered professional development and support. Presentations in this strand will include tips, ideas and resources on how to orchestrate your own professional development online; concrete examples of how the tools that support Professional Learning Environments (PLEs) are being used; how to create a supportive, reflective virtual learning community around school-based goals, and trends toward teacher directed personal learning environments.

Strand B: Obstacles to Opportunities
Boundaries formalized by education in the “industrial age” shouldn’t hinder educators as they seek to reform and transform their classroom practice. Playing with boundaries in the areas of copyright, digital discipline and ethics (e.g. cyberbullying), collaborating globally (e.g. cultural differences, synchronous communication), resistance to change (e.g. administration, teachers, students), school culture (e.g. high stakes testing), time (e.g. in curriculum, teacher day), lack of access to tools/computers, filtering, parental/district concerns for online safety, control (e.g. teacher control of student behavior/learning), solutions for IT collaboration and more — unearthing opportunities from the obstacles rooted in those boundaries — is the focus of presentations in this strand.

This call encourages all, experienced and novice, to submit proposals to present at this conference via this link. Take this opportunity to share your successes, strategies, and tips in “playing with boundaries” in one of the four strands as described above.

Deadline for proposal submissions is June 18, 2007. You will be contacted no later than June 30, 2007 regarding your status.

Presentations may be delivered in any web-based medium that is downloadable (including but not limited to podcasts, screencasts, slide shows) and is due one week prior to the date it is published.

Please note that all presentations will be licensed Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

As you draft your proposal, you may wish to consider the presentation topics listed below which were suggested in the comments on the K-12 Online Conference Blog:

  • special needs education
  • Creative Commons
  • Second Life
  • podcasting
  • iPods
  • video games in education
  • specific ideas, tips, mini lessons centered on pedagogical use of web 2.0 tools
  • overcoming institutional inertia and resistance
  • aligning Web 2.0 and other projects to national standards
  • getting your message across
  • how web 2.0 can assist those with disabilities
  • ePortfolios
  • classroom 2.0 activities at the elementary level
  • creating video for TeacherTube and YouTube
  • google docs
  • teacher/peer collaboration

The first presentation in each strand will kick off with a keynote by a well known educator who is distinguished and knowledgeable in the context of their strand. Keynoters will be announced shortly.

This year’s conveners are:

Darren Kuropatwa is currently Department Head of Mathematics at Daniel Collegiate Institute in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. He is known internationally for his ability to weave the use of online social tools meaningfully and concretely into his pedagogical practice and for “child safe” blogging practices. He has more than 20 years experience in both formal and informal education and 13 years experience in team building and leadership training. Darren has been facilitating workshops for educators in groups of 4 to 300 for the last 10 years. Darren’s professional blog is called A Difference ( He will convene Classroom 2.0.

Sheryl Nusbaum-Beach, a 20-year educator, has been a classroom teacher, charter school principal, district administrator, and digital learning consultant. She currently serves as an adjunct faculty member teaching graduate and undergraduate preservice teachers at The College of William and Mary (Virginia, USA), where she is also completing her doctorate in educational planning, policy and leadership. In addition, Sheryl is co-leading a statewide 21st Century Skills initiative in the state of Alabama, funded by a major grant from the Microsoft Partners in Learning program. Sheryl blogs at ( She will convene Preconference Discussions and Personal Learning Networks.

Wesley Fryer is an educator, author, digital storyteller and change agent. With respect to school change, he describes himself as a “catalyst for creative educational engagement.” His blog, “Moving at the Speed of Creativity” was selected as the 2006 “Best Learning Theory Blog” by eSchoolnews and Discovery Education. He is the Director of Education Advocacy (PK-20) for AT&T in the state of Oklahoma. Wes blogs at ( Wes will convene New Tools.

Lani Ritter Hall currently contracts as an instructional designer for online professional development for Ohio teachers and online student courses with eTech Ohio. She is a National Board Certified Teacher who served in many capacities during her 35 years as a classroom and resource teacher in Ohio and Canada. Lani blogs at ( Lani will convene Obstacles to Opportunities.

If you have any questions about any part of this, email one of us:
Darren Kuropatwa: dkuropatwa {at} gmail {dot} com
Sheryl Nusbaum-Beach: snbeach {at} cox {dot} net
Lani Ritter Hall: lanihall {at} alltel {dot} net
Wesley Fryer: wesfryer {at} pobox {dot} com

Please duplicate this post and distribute it far and wide across the blogosphere. Feel free to republish it on your own blog (actually, we’d really like people to do that ;-) ) or link back to this post (published simultaneously on all our blogs).

Conference Tag: K12online07

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The World is Flat

Thomas L. Friedman published an updated and expanded edition of his The World Is Flat A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century book in April 2006.

What Friedman means by flat is connected: the lowering of trade and political barriers and the exponential technical advances of the digital revolution that have made it possible to do business, or almost anything else, instantaneously with billions of other people across the planet.

Globalization 3.0, as he calls it, is driven not by major corporations or giant trade organizations like the World Bank, but by individuals: desktop freelancers and innovative startups all over the world (but especially in India and China) who can compete–and win–not just for low-wage manufacturing and information labor but, increasingly, for the highest-end research and design work as well.

…Friedman has more to say about what he now calls uploading, the direct-from-the-bottom creation of culture, knowledge, and innovation through blogging, podcasts, and open-source software. —’s Editorial Review

So what does this have to do with education? The technical and creative training that will be required for our students to compete in the work force will include collaboration and communication with people outside of their physical space. Our students need to experience collaboration with people in another geographic location. Technology is making this so easy! The Internet has evolved into a read/write web empowering its users to have conversations in synchronous or asynchronous situations, to collaboratively develop a document or web page, participate in virtual meetings, or publish a podcast or a blog to which others subscribe.

To see just how easily you can connect your students with an expert in New York City (pronounced just like that old salsa commercial), another classroom in Bangladesh, or another classroom in Missouri, register for my summer workshop, Collaborative Projects, on August 1. We will use a webcam and Skype to have a free video conference, locate virtual field trips, explore collaborative projects available for your students, and more.

Image: Lars Plougmann. “Double flat – P1030029.JPG” Larsz’s Photostream. 12 Dec 2006. 27 May 2007 < 12/19/06>

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You don’t truly appreciate something, until it’s gone

Edublogs was “gone” for several hours this weekend. As I did my usual reading of my RSS feeds and participated in an online conference in New Zealand (more on that later), I was constantly checking to see if Edublogs was back. I had so much to say. So I resorted to blogging in Word with the plan to cut and paste. But alas, it is not the same (influences of New Zealand dialect). I can’t embed the videos as I find them, or upload the captured images. Oh Edublogs, oh Edublogs, please come back. I know the presenters at the New Zealand conference are singing a similar tune. Several of them had links to Edubblogs, which they could not display during their presentations. I did read James Farmer’s recent blog post and know that he is doing his best. We all have those days when technology is not our friend. I have full confidence in Mr. Farmer.

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For the times they are a-changin’

Mr. Bob Dylan copyrighted that song in 1964, and it still rings true today in 2007. In the NY Times Magazine, Clive Johnson recently published an article. It brings us a day in the life of Jonathan Coulton, a musician who publishes his work on his blog. He uses online tools to sell and promote his music, instead of a record-label. One of the main points of the NY Times Magazine article is that the Internet has changed the relationship between an artist and his/her fans. Jonathan’s many fans post comments on his blog and he works diligently to reply to each one. The Internet has empowered artists and fans to connect, bypassing the music industry’s filter. The fans are finding new music without following the hype of mass marketing.

But what caught my eye is that on his blog a lot of his music is free and he allows other people to use it in their own creations. On the Music page of his blog you will find:

“All the songs on this page are … licensed Creative Commons – they are not copy protected in any way, so you can play them on whatever device you like. You can preview everything before you buy … Click the Info button next to a song to see lyrics, guitar chords, and (sometimes) a bit of explanation from me. You’ll also see stuff that other people have made based on that song, and you can submit your own video, short story, half-pony-half-monkey-monster sculpture, etc.”

For example on YouTube, fans have published music videos for Jonathan’s tunes, not something to be done with an original Matchbox Twenty song. Times they are a’changin. Anyone can publish anything in a matter of minutes on the Internet. Some of the podcasts I listen to include include “podsafe music,” which is music with a license that allows people to share, but requires credit be given to the artist. This is just another way the below-the-radar artist can start to build a fan base.

What does this mean to you as an educator? When implementing project-based learning, we often ask students to create publications in which they want to include music, (Sheryl Crow song) during their slideshow, or paste in an image from a copyrighted web page (Disney). When we post their work on-line to take advantage of that world wide audience, copyright rears its ugly head. Thus we find the joy in Creative Commons, a source for photos, videos, and music that you can share and remix.

In my summer workshop, Creative Commons and Copyright, we will discuss common classroom situations involving copyright. I will provide on-line resources to use as references when dealing with copyright issues. We will spend some time using Creative Commons to find media you can use with your students and even post on the Internet. We will also go through the easy steps of applying a Creative Commons license to your own published on-line work.

“Copyright, Ugh! Yuck. I can’t make sense of all that mumbo jumbo.”

True, copyright is not pretty. But as educators we must model appropriate copyright practices, as well as teach our students.

Image from DavidDennis’ photostream taken July 16, 2006.

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