Starting to awake from my summer slumber and getting back into things. I find myself once again somewhere over Montana on my way to Alan November’s BLC Conference in Boston. This will be my 3rd year presenting at BLC and its timing always marks the end of my summer vacation.

A couple weeks ago though I spend four days in Memphis at the laptop Institute conference put on by Lausanne Collegiate School. A fantastic conference with a clear mission.

by Flickr ID: flickingerbrad

What I liked most about the Laptop Institute is the question about students having a computer, having a connection is a non-issue. Everyone at this conference believes that every students should have a computer. It was great to talk to schools who where already 1:1 and to schools who were in the process of getting there. Everyone though….on the same page, making it fun to talk about pedagogy, tools, and ideas.

My keynote and sessions were all video taped. I’ve embedded the keynote below and you can watch the other sessions if you would like at this link.

I was also excited to see schools bringing teams of teachers to the conference. Very few people were there alone and some smaller private schools brought their whole staff. A great PD/staff bonding trip.

There were a few international schools at the conference as well. American School of Bombay who also puts on their own Laptop Institute called ASB Unplugged every other year, brought their new hires to the conference and even ran an all day pre-conference for their new hires to get them up to speed on what to expect and what is expected of them at their new school. What a fantastic idea!

As someone who has to try and train teachers on the technologies at a new school while at the same time new teachers are trying to settle into a new country, find their classroom, and everything else that comes with a new job, I like ASB’s approach as it also shows the new hires that technology is taken seriously at the school from day one.

I would recommend the Laptop Institute to any school who is already 1:1 or is preparing to go there. It’s a great place to network with others who have been through the roll-out process, who are using different tools, and what works and what doesn’t. The best part is you soon find out there are all sorts of ways to go 1:1 and not one right way to do it. Know your community, know your school and going 1:1 can be a great experience!

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!