Once upon a time on a blog post far, far away, I saw a promo for something called the K12 Online Conference. I was intrigued since I was not able to travel to conferences at the moment because of a decided slow down in my cash flow. So I went to the promo page and read about the K12 Online Conference concept. It was very simple—online presentations were shared with people from around the globe—and everything was free! No cost to register, no travel expenses, no giveaways—just online learning and sharing from passionate learners like me.
I downloaded the application to present and ruminated over it for a while. At the same time, I was in an online course learning how to develop online professional development courses for teachers. My topic was reading and web 2.0 tools so I decided to give that a try for the K12 Online Conference. And much to my surprise and delight, Reading Revolution: New Texts and New Technologies was accepted for the K12 Online Conference 2008. I was even more excited when I saw that it was a fairly exclusive group chosen to present. I was on the same presenter list as Vicki Davis, Chris Lehmann, Sharon Betts, Cheryl Oakes, Brian Crosby, and Scott McLeod! Yikes! Nothing like being a newbie with the "big dogs"!
I posted my K12 Online Conference teaser using Animoto and received some great feedback. I grew both more excited and more nervous as the conference approached. And as it approached, I couldn’t figure out how to video my 20 minute presentation since I didn't have a video camera and a Flip camera was not in my budget. So, I finally decided to do it a little differently and I created a wiki as my presentation. I showcased using blogs, wikis, and podcasts for encouraging students to read.
So the actual conference arrived and my presentation went live on October 22, 2008. I had 2 live chats the day the presentation was posted and talked with people from the UK, Canada, and the US. I posted a message on Plurk for the live chat two of my Plurk buddies, loonyhiker and agapejen, joined me to talk about my presentation. It was great! I also chatted with a concerned dad and pharmacist from Canada about the pros and cons of using multimedia for reading as opposed to print only (but that is another post!). Later in the week, I participated in the Fireside Chat for all presenters and keynoters from Week 1 of the conference. We used Elluminate to talk, share, listen, and chat with folks from all over about the presentations from the first week. In this online arena, I met people from Los Angeles, San Antonio, Venezuela, and Maine. Although I am a geek girl at heart and I expected to enjoy this conference, I have loved being a presenter more than I thought I would since I am also a big Face-to-Face person. I have had a great time discussing my presentation with people from around the country and around the world. And I learned some new tools along the way. Isn't this what a conference experience is supposed to be about?
Finally, I want to give a great big shout out to my convener, Darren Kuropatwa, who helped me navigate the uncharted waters of my first K12 Online Conference. Thanks so much! And another shout out to all the people who make this conference a possibility—you know who you are!