Friday, October 19, 2007

tt4t_008 Join the K12 Online Conference - Episode 8

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(or right click to download to your computer or portable MP3 player)

It’s Friday, October 19, 2007 and welcome to Episode 8 of Tech Talk 4 Teachers, I’m Tom Grissom. This week I would like to bring your attention to an online conference that is currently in progress. The name of the conference is the K12 Online Conference and as the name implies it is 100% online with over forty sessions posted for viewing. This is the second year for this conference and it offers educators a different approach to receiving and participating in professional development activities. The conference features both synchronous and asynchronous activities and is accesed via a computer with an Internet connection. The synchronous activities, as the name implies, requires you to participate at a given time but one of the nice features of this conference is that many of the activities are asynchronous - meaning that you can participate at a time that is convenient for you. This conference highlights Web 2.0 tools and is basically an interactive blog that allows participants to download audio and video files on demand. The Keynotes are prerecorded and this year featured keynoters are David Warlick a noted technologist, former school teacher and blogging evangelist, Clarence Fisher of Snow Lake, Manitoba, Canada is a teacher with 13 years experience and Alan Levine from Scottsdale, Arizona and Vice President and CTO of the New Media Consortium. The three keynotes are available at the conference website and can be listened to or watched at your computer or if you choose downloaded and played back on a portable media device. The three keynotes are definitely worth a listen and links are provided in my show notes to the keynotes. Most of the presentations available at this online conference are by real-world practicing teachers and offer great practical examples of integrating technology into the curriculum.

This conference is ongoing through the month of October and continues throughout next week. A schedule of events is provided in the show notes. If you are interested in participating live. Click here for the K12 Online Conference Schedule

The online conference format can work in a variety of ways. For some presentations you simple go to the session listing on the web and listen or watch prerecorded content. You then have the option to post a comment on the blog for the selected session. Some of the sessions feature asynchronous chat, some offer synchronous chat - that is immediate and more interactive, Other formats include Skype-like synchronous audio and sometimes video participation via webcams. It is up to you if you want to leave a comment about a particular session, if you choose you may simply listen or watch the sessions without commenting.

The benefits to this type of online conference format include reduced cost, did I mention that the K12 online conference is FREE! No travel expenses are required, no registration fees, no lost work time due to travel, and you can participate at a time that is convenient for you. What a deal! Some conference content can also be downloaded and accessed on demand, information about the sessions from last years conference are also archived on the website.

Another benefit to the conference is that there is not a limit to the number of people participating in a session since it is virtual. Have you ever gone to a conference only to find that it was hosted in a small room and the session gets so filled quickly that you have to select an alternative session to the one you wanted? The great thing about cyberspace is that there are no limits on physical space. You get access to the movers and shakers of the field. If you so choose you may continue correspondence with presenters and participants after the conference is over since many also have blogs, wikis, and/or podcasts.

Tom’s Technology Pick of the Week


My Technology Pick of the week this week is a website/service called Gcast. Gcast allows you to easily create podcasts by recording your voice using a phone. This make it incredible easy to record a podcast. All that is needed is a free account and Gcast handles all the behind the scenes technology. Gcast also allows you to upload prerecorded MP3 files and provides a mixer for you to mix podsafe music into your podcast. A link is available in the show notes so be sure to try this one out as it is very easy to use. There tagline is

“So easy your grandma could do it -- it's fun and FREE!“

Links to the K12 Online Conference, Gcast and other resources featured in this podcast are available in the show notes for Episode 8 available at that’s techtalk the number 4 IF you have a comment or suggestion for a future show or a suggestion for Technology Pick of the Week then please email me at Well that wraps it up for Episode 8 so until next time this is Tom Grissom, keep on learning.

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