Of all the conferences and professional development events I’ve taken part in over the last few years, the K12 Online Conference is the one that I think has had the most impact. Not surprisingly, because unlike many “one-hit” conferences that are over at the end of the weekend, K12 Online rolls out over an extended two week period, releasing several presentations each day on a wide range of topics. These presentations are all in some multimedia format, usually a video, but they could be in whatever format the presenter chooses, and they live on permanently beyond the actual conference itself. It really is, as they say, the conference that never ends.
The K12 Online Conference started in 2006 as the brainchild of a couple of North American teachers. If you want the full story of the conference and how it started, you might like to listen to episode 16 of the Virtual Staffroom podcast where I got to interview those who started it. Ever since that first year, I’ve looked forward to K12 Online each year. There’s an incredible effort behind it… I can vouch for that, as I volunteered to be on one of the organising subcommittees in 2007 and 2008, and I’ve also contributed presentations in 2008 and 2009. So I can tell you from first hand experience that there is a huge amount of work that takes place behind the scenes, from many passionate and committed educators, to make this all happen.
Anyway, the 2009 conference, with the theme “Bridging the Divide” was officially opened today with a pre conference keynote from the fabulous Kim Cofino. Like everything Kim does, it’s full of passion and insight into what it means to be an effective teacher in the 21st century. I’ll embed it here, but you should probably head over to the K12 Online site and check out all the other stuff going on there.
Once you’ve watched it, go check out the schedule of stuff that will be released over the next few weeks. There’s something for everyone.
Then once you have seen the schedule, make sure you grab some of the presentations for this year’s conference. Heck, why not subscribe to one of the RSS feeds and get them as they are released. You won’t regret it.