Monday, May 21, 2007

K12 Online 2007

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 year's 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 ( She 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

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Anne's gifts to us--

Countless gifts bestowed so selflessly—
The gift – a model for the pure celebration of others
of preservice teachers here and here, of exceptional teaching, of women bloggers, of award winners, and of course of students here and here

The gift -- a front line advocate for the abolition of high stakes testing

The gift – a model for building a learning community

The gift -- a model for reflecting on learning and thinking

The gift – a model for nurturing a joy of learning

The gift – a model for collaboration and connections

The gift -- transparency

The gift -- vision

The gift -- rationale

The gift – creativity
Anne’s gifts to us --

What joy, what learning, what depth of thought might transform our classrooms if these gifts were graciously accepted, models adapted and then realized?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

An unlikely, unique perspective--

At my feet lies an aging, wise, and loving 100 pound German Shepherd. Rescued from abuse and neglect some 4 years ago, this handsome guy has become an integral family member. I guess it should be no surprise that he blogs and comments to 5th graders in Georgia just like his mom. But the success and scope of this unique and unlikely collaboration has amazed even me.

The journey began last January after a significant lake effect snow event. I’d been commenting to the Blogicians in Georgia and thought I’d share some of the snow with them through pictures on this blog. In one of the posts, I asked the students who they thought cried when he saw all the snow (I linked a to his picture in the comments all in fun).

Imagine my astonishment when I found Harley looking at me in my aggregator in a post at Blogical Minds. That post indicated that the Blogicians had lots of questions about him. And sure enough, Anni, and Johnny, and Tina had questions and comments.

In response, Harley added his voice to the blogosphere at From the Paws of connecting with 5th graders some 800 miles away. His second post was about him and so began his ongoing relationship with Michael and M.V.

When the Blogicians tried their hand at persuasive writing, Harley looked to Mary, Lindsey, Eddie and others for guidance before writing his post about a subject near and dear to his heart, rescuing adult and senior dogs. The Blogicians’ comments were thoughtful and kind.

One day in March, the Blogicians and I had a short, but exciting Skype call. And when Harley posted on Mom’s happiness at hearing their voices, the blogicians comments were full of excitement!

The Blogicians wrote about their passions – T.K. and Victoria, Harley posted on his.

As Harley posted, the Blogicians commented with love and kindness. The old guy seemed to touch a spot in the hearts of these bright, insightful 5th graders. His most recent post celebrates the connections he made with Blogicians through blogging.

Following that post and a wealth of comments, he popped up in my aggregator again at Blogical Minds! Mia, Victoria and Anni have composed quite a poem!

Hmmm, I’m wondering if this might have been one of those great side trips in learning-- an opportunity to write and think and learn about each other? Is there a Harley in your family, who could add an unlikely, unique perspective to a class somewhere?