NECC begins to hot up!

Saturday saw the enthusiastic Web 2.0 bloggers all gathered together at the EdubloggerCon, prior to the official launch of NECC the following day. It’s impossible to cover what we learned that day, but it is certain that the whole experience of this unconference was amazing. The first thing was seeing so many bloggers in one place at one time ‘in the flesh’.

Everyone had their wow moment – but for me the opportunity to say ‘hello’ to Ewan McIntosh was very cool, as was the chance to catch up with Will Richardson, meet up with Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davies. The list was long, and consequently the value of the sessions during the day were equally interesting. Catch the reports and feedback at the wiki.

These people can all be found at some time or another at the Bloggers’ Cafe – hub of all things fantastic and innovative. The Cafe features a live feed via Summarize of twitter feeds – just totally amazing to see the activity going on throughout the conference, and the concurrent reporting unavailable as as a result….and this before the actual launch of the conference! You can pick up the feed yourself at the Summize NECC.

As part of our Study Tour we have the opportunity to take part in a number of briefings. This morning we met with Kieth Kruger from CosN. Keith mentioned some of the following:

People who advocate for investment in technology have over-promised. That transformational uses of technology happens when leadership is inspired. Technology stages have three cycles. First wave – technology infrastructure. Second wave is really around applications and professional development. Third is about standing back and asking what it is we can do with technology that will change what it is we are doing. We need to focus on teachers, but what COsn focuses on what it is that needs to be done to transform leadership. Do policy makers ‘get it’! The biggest challenge for integrators of technology is the lack of vision of those in leadership positions. 90% of superintendents ‘run away’ from technology. The trick is to capture the leadership by exploring the big educational problems – and exploration of whether or not technology has something to offer in this area. Technology has changed the role of superintendents to communicate with their community. And we need new pedagogy and assessment – to reflect on the lives of students outside of school. We need new ways of delivering professional development. In all these contexts school districts need to change in the way the work and operate within education.

ISTE Leadership Forum

Now on Sunday and we have had the opportunity to take part in the ISTE Leadership symposium. Again, much to learn and very interesting to see the leadership of this organisation. At this morning’s session (after a sumptuous breakfast) we spent time exploring ISTE’s Educational Technology Standards for Students (ISTE NETS) – the next generation.

These standards are created under the following headings:

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision-making
  • Digital citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts

We had the opportunity to listen to key thought leaders, and four super-star teachers, amongst whom is Julie Lindsay, well known in the blogosphere for her work in the Horizon Project.

We broke into groups to look at some great practice in action. The aussies were very pleased to support and learn more from Roland Gesthuizen about use of drama and hand puppet theatre as a way of teaching technology values.

We were also delighted to meet Peggy Sheehy from Ramapo! Man, was it exciting to hear somebody talking about the same thing that we have been talking about in terms of the vital role that Second Life can place in our mainstream curriculum. Frankly, this conference is way cool!

Back in the bloggers cafe, and we just kept on meeting with more and

more wonderful folks!

Dean and I chatted with Paul Harrington.

After that we went off and had lunch with Ewan McIntosh. Terrific, four different accents around one food table in San Antonio. Everyone is here, and the twitter feed keeps us up to date with ‘breaking news’ at ISTE!

Outward bound!

Today, Sunday, I am frantically chasing my disorganized tail trying to pack my essentials (and non-essentials) to head off on a fantastic Study Tour hosted by ACCE. Part of our tour takes us to NZ and San Franciso, ending at the National Education Computing Conference in San Antonio organized by ISTE.

This is an exciting opportunity for me, and I am very grateful to my wonderful school for allowing me to take part in this professional technology tour and event.

Just think – on the tour I will be networking with some fabulous educators from Australia – catching up in person with some of our online leaders, and meeting others from around the country, who are either leading innovation in their schools, or facilitating innovation in some way in their school districts.

Then in San Antonio I will meet so many more of my online contacts, and have the opportunity to learn so much from the various sessions. As part of the tour we have some special opportunities to meet with key people – but more on that later.

But there’s even something more special. As Cathy said “It seems surreal to think I’m on the list for presenting in a panel discussion” – me, way over there in San Antonio. Imagine my excitement about collaborating with Joyce Valenza, Carolyn Foote, Cathy Nelson, Diane M Cordell, and Kim Cofino who will join us remotely. I know there are lots of bright sparks from Australia who regularly go to NECC, and even present sessions. But me? I am just thrilled to have this opportunity to collaborate, share, make connections and build an even stronger professional learning community than I already have.

The Jokaydians are going to get together ‘in world’ – those at NECC will be able to share a bit of the goodness in our favourite online meeting space. We have a strong connection with ISTE, being regular participants in ISTE events to keep the Aussie and US connection strong!

We also have a wonderful story being shared about an Australian Skoolaborate initiative! Westley Field and Lindy McKeown will explain the work they have done in setting up a Teen Second Life project that some of our schools have had the good fortune to join.

I will also be looking forward to meeting up with people who have joined Second Classroom – a very new Ning space supporting educators working in 3D immersive environments. There is such a growth in immersive environments, which is totally amazing and exciting. Whether its Teen Second Life, Quest Atlantis, Open Sim, Twinity or more, we need to share our experiences if we are going to keep pace with the technology opportunities around us. Join Second Classroom and share your questions, experiences, and ideas with us all!

(Psssssss. If you are at NECC, keep an eye out for Dean Groom, who just might have an Open Sim that runs of a thumb drive to share with you!)

The Tour group will be blogging their tour. So you will see a few posts from me about key sights and events. I will also probably use Jottit to help me store information to share. I just love how simple that tool is for recording and sharing without the whole ‘live blogging’ thing.

Image: Petromyzon

Magic carpet ride …. to NECC!

If you’ve noticed the new by-line on my blog header then let me fill you in on the source of this. This comes from my guest column Learning is a Multimodal Conversation,” appearing in the Blogger’s Cafè section of ISTE’s December-January issue of Leading & Learning with Technology.

I know some international colleagues won’t have access to download this short column so I’m providing a copy of the article here.

So it seems that ISTE is a bit of theme for me this year…..or more correctly, the NECC conference in San Antonio. I’ve visited ISTE HQ quite a few times, and have enjoyed a warm welcome each time. magiccarpet.jpgI really enjoyed meeting up with Docent KJ Hax (Kevin Jarrett) who took Sue Waters and myself on a fabulous magic carpet ride around ISTE island and beyond. Kevin blogged about this adventure at When Virtual Worlds Collide!

Today I chatted with Clare Lane (Lisa Linn), first on twitter, then a bit of skype chat, and then ended up dropping into ISTE HQ to ‘meet’ her. I stayed at the ISTE social, and had a great campfire chat led by KJHax and his friends.

Meanwhile, I’m busy planning my trip to San Antonio, and am really looking forward to meeting so many of the people from my read/write world.

OH, and I’ll be joining a fabulous group of teacher librarians to present a panel session at the conference. I’m joining with Joyce Valenza, Cathy Nelson, Carolyn Foote, Diane Cordell and Anita Beaman – which will be a bit of magic for me for sure!

That’s what I love about the holidays! When I am back at school I won’t be able to stop in the middle of my day and go and relax ‘in world’ or just launch skye for a quick chat before diving off to the real world shops for some fun and mischief or wandering off to the terrace to do a bit more reading.