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Ken Caroll of Praxis Language (and the famous ChinesePod.com) invited me out to their new studio here in Shanghai to record some sound bites for the Learning 2.008 conference. Ken and Praxis Language will help us to record every session of the Learning 2.008 conference this year. (More on my visit with Ken later)
I worked with their sound guy David to create an audio ad that we are releasing here for distribution.
Our hope is that you will take this 19 second clip and embed it in your own educational podcasts, pass it around to friends, e-mail it to teachers in your school, or post it on your own blog/site to help spread the word about the conference. Yes, I had way to much fun recording this and editing it with David.
Please take, use, remix, distribute, and use at will. It is released under a Creative Commons 3.0 License.

As far as I know we’re the first conference to release a mp3 audio ad on the Internet for use in podcasts and other audio media. …and that’s just the beginning of firsts for this years conference. You will not want to miss it!


Register here

We had a great planning meeting last night looking at the latest numbers for the conference. Not a good sign when we have more presentations then people registered for the conference. 🙁

I’m not to worried at this point, but then again I’m not the one in charge of the money. 🙂 This is why there aren’t many educational conferences in September. The timing just isn’t good. Schools are just now really looking at finances for next year and many teachers are not sure what their PD funds will look like until they get back in August. That, with the fact that in the International system we have so many people changing schools every year that their heads aren’t on the conference, but on moving. Last year we saw some 300 people sign up for the conference in August. I just hope we see that again this year.

So those of you in the Asia region. Talk to your school heads and let’s get signed up!

Also I’m proud to announce that this year we will be running an EduBloggerCon. It will take place Thursday September 18th at 9am. Matt at Catshanghai and Amanda at From the Outside Looking In will be helping with the planning.

We’ll start at 9am and we’ll go until we’re done or until we need to leave to head over to the conference at about 4:30pm. What a great opportunity to meet other bloggers, talk Web 2.0 and just hang out in Shanghai. So come join us!

Also last night the group came up with a great idea to create a Diigo bookmarking group for the conference. This will allow people to share links to great resources before, during and after the conference as well as expose them to social bookmarking.

Last night we also took some time to play with Twitterlight. A Twitter application that runs on Microsoft Silverlight and looks really sweet (FYI…I’m sure we’ll play with this at NECC as well). SCIS where we will be holding the conference this year has 42 and 50 inch LCD TVs in every classroom and through out the school in hallways and common areas. Are plan is to have the conference twitter feed playing on these TVs throughout the conference!

The conference schedule is also coming together nicely. Two full days of intense learning…that’s what we want. We had the people at Chinesepod.com stop by last night and have a look around to help us create high quality podcasts of all the sessions (ChinesePod is one of the top downloaded podcasts on iTunes). Our plan is to release all sessions under a CC 3.0 license as well as Ustream four channels at the conference (depending on bandwidth).

The conference will kick off Thursday night with in a TED type style. Where our 8 invited presenters will have 5-7 minutes to motivate and excite the audience. Our hope is that it will push our presenters to come up with something new and different…get your point across in 5 minutes. Motivate and excite people in 5 minutes. It should be an interesting experiment for all of us.

Excited? I hope…now go register!

http://learning2cn.ning.com/

REGISTRATION OPEN

Apply to be a presenter

When: September 18th-20th

Where: SCIS-Hongquio

Conference Registration: EARCOS/ACAMIS schools ($250) Non-EARCOS/ACAMIS schools ($350)

Hotel Information Hotel registration is the responsibility of the registrant

Visa Information

Conference Schedule BETA

Grab the official conference badge for your site
Conference Badge Image

<a href=”http://learning2cn.ning.com/” title=”Learning 2.008 Conference”><img src=”http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3005/2391290681_aaafb50a7f_o.png” width=”200″ height=”330″ alt=”@2008sidebar” /></a>

It’s been two days now since the conference ended and I have purposefully not posted my last reactions to the conference to allow my brain time to soak up, rearrange, and make sense of what just happened.

The most important aspect that I think came out of this conference was the formation of a community. The presenters where great, but the ning site itself is where I believe the lasting collaboration and communication will take place. As I’ve been hanging out with Will, Wes and Sheryl these past two days (and now maybe longer do to Typhoon Wipha), it has brought home even more what a community can do. Why are Wes, Will, and Sheryl here? Because of the connections created in this hyperlinked, self organizing, out of control, chaos we call the web. Somehow through all that we make connections, lasting connections that lead to virtual relationships, that lead to sipping wine with Will, Wes, and Sheryl last night in Xin Tan Di.

My last post I asked the question what makes a conference successful…and personally I think I would say that it allows you to create learning connections. Connections that last beyond the conference. Not so much the stuff you learn, the sessions you attend, although that’s great, but the connections you make and the conversations that are started. Virtual connections enhance face to face connections and vis versa. At NECC 06 I didn’t make these connections. At NECC 07 I did in the Bloggers Cafe and those connections that I had made virtually before the conference were enhanced face to face…and those I met face to face at the conference have been enhanced from the virtual connections that have continued afterwards.

So with that in mind we’ve started something special here at the Learning 2.0 conference. We’ve created an atmosphere for those who met face to face to continue that conversation of learning via the ning site. We have created an opportunity to create learning connections and now I need to find a way to keep those connections growing.

One thing I was discussing with Will this morning was that by creating an open community we will never really know where the impact of this conference ends. There is a forum for every presentation, participants were encouraged to write their notes as replies to forum sessions to create a lasting, open, body of knowledge that will live on forever (depending on what happens to ning).

This morning as I was thinking about all of this I created the following visualization of the connections the ning site has created.

The conference ning site is the green dot in the upper right corner with all those lines coming off of it. That’s our community that has just formed, but also take a second to study where these other connections come from, and who else was/is affected by what happened at the conference. It will be interesting to take this same picture a month from now to see how that information has continued to spread. This all just from the ning site and does not take into account the 200+ people that were affected via the twitter feeds.

So what makes a conference successful? Not just connections, but connections that have a lasting impact on the individual. Whether that impacts that person or their students…the connections that are formed and fostered from a conference is how I judge the success of a conference.

Through those connections we learn, we grow, we push both ourselves and each other. Belonging to a professional learning community is an amazing personal professional development. Start a blog, set up an RSS reader, stay active on the ning site and I promise you will learn more through that network in a short amount of time then you have in the rest of your schooling. Will, Wes, Sheryl and I all agree on that one aspect. That this personalize network we all create for ourselves is very powerful. You have to start with you. Make it personal, make it worth while and be a learner.

[tags]learn2cn[/tags]

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Today as Wes twitted…was long…exciting…brain hurting…fun. The conference seems to be going pretty well…but then again those that aren’t enjoying it usually do not come up to you and say, “This conference sucks.” when they know you are helping to organize it.

I’ve prepared a survey for conference goers to fill out for tomorrow, our last day of the conference, and as I do I keep thinking about how do you truly measure the success of a conference?

Sure you can ask questions about sessions, the lay out, things you would change, but how do you truly know if a conference affects the classroom, makes teachers think, and actually changes teaching and learning?

As one person said to me today “What happens Monday when we all go back to our rooms?” I guess that’s the question…what happens Monday? Is a conference considered successful if on Monday the teacher walks back into their classroom the same as they walked out on Friday? Better yet how do you measure that?

As a presenter I guess you hope that something you said sticks with your audience…that they learn something new. As a teacher we hope for the same of our students. As a conference organizer, do you hope for something larger? Hoping that participants will walk away, return to school on Monday ready to engage students in Learning 2.0? But of course we all know that change does not happen that fast…or can it?

So I’m stuck struggling with this question. How do you define a successful conference?

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learn2cn Ten days and counting until the Learning 2.0 conference. I’ve spent the past two days putting the finishing touches on the conference schedule. I do wish I was attending this conference and not helping to create it. There are some great sessions I’ll make sure I post a link to the schedule once it’s up on the conference site.

I have been given the honor of moderating the opening round table forum. The last couple of days I’ve been thinking about the questions I want to ask. I mean when you have a forum that includes: Alan November, Will Richardson, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, Jamie McKenzie, Gary Stager, Wes Fryer, and Chris Smith, and an audience of 400 International Educators. What questions do you ask?

So I thought I’d ask you for some help. If you were moderating this forum discussion what questions would you want to ask and who would you direct the question too? You never know…I might just use your question (credit given)!

I’m hoping to podcast the session and if I’m successful I’ll post it here.

OK…back to work. I think I’m catching up!

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LogoThis past week a committee of International Technology Educators launched our Learning 2.0 conference that will take place next September. If you head over to the conference blog you can watch and listen too the kick off presentation that was given to vendors, companies, and educators. I had a chance to talk to some of the vendors that are excited about the conference and they are looking to introducing some new products to the Asia region at the conference as well. Over all the kickoff was successful, and the list of presenters we have lined up is impressive as well.

Parts of this conference have been in planning for almost two years. The three major international schools here in Shanghai are working together to bring this conference into reality. Shanghai is such a dynamic system, ever changing, ever evolving…what a great place to have a Learning 2.0 conference.

As we started planning the conference we kept coming back to the world dynamic. We wanted to quit talking Web 2.0 and put it into action. That’s what we are trying to do with this conference. There is no keynote as we felt we wanted to introduce people to the new conversational aspect of learning. Along with pre-planned conference sessions we are also embedding an unconference style  conference as well. Not sure how it will work but what we envision is having conference that allows for participants to be able to ask questions and suggest sessions while in the pre-planned workshops. Those questions and session topics will get put on a web site where they can be dug (think digg here). Once a topic/question gets X amount of digs it is assigned an area/room where that conversation can take place. These conversations could last an hour or more depending on the people attending and what pre-planned conference sessions they wanted to attend. Dynamic? We think so.

We’re also incorporating and exposing participants to as many tools as possible. The conference of course has a tag (learn2cn) we also have a conference twitter account, and each participant when registered for the conference will automatically be given a social-network ID and made a member of the conference ning site (Still under construction). Here participants can start having conversations before the conference if they choose, or presenters can use the site to show the power/potential of social-networks. Doing a session on blogging? All the participants will already have a blog thanks to ning.

I’m not gonna spill all the beans here, but we’ve got a couple other tricks up our sleeves as well. If there is something you think a dynamic conference should have…let us know.

Want to be a sponsor of the conference? Drop us a line.
Want to follow the action? We’ve left our Social-Network sit open to all. So if you want to join in or just follow the conversation of the conference please do so.

We’re looking at 350-500 people for our first conference. We were worried when we set that target back in February that we might not get 350 participants. But more requests keep pouring in from schools outside of Shanghai which is great.

As far as we know this is the first educational technology conference of its kind in the Asia region…and hopefully not the last.

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