Last year I was able to attend this event in person and it was great – lots of inspiring stuff to hear and see. I was disappointed recently to realise that this year’s event was already fully booked before I’d even heard about it however a couple of new features allowed me to get over at least some of that disappointment.
This year 6 of the concurrent sessions were available online through Knowledge Bank Online and Elluminate. People were asked to register prior but I don’t think that actually mattered, some of the attendees had clearly come via twitter links. Anyway, I did the right thing and registered in advance and was notified by email when the sessions were coming up.
After a small technical hitch (something to do with getting around my school’s firewall) I was in and listening to Anne Mirtschen’s Flat Classroom Walls presentation. And not just listening, viewing the same slides and videos that the real life attendees were too. Later I “went” to Jarrod Robinson’s session on Rethinking Homework using SMS with students.
It was a great experience. I learnt a lot from both presenters, enjoyed the backchannel chat and was able to participate by “putting my hand up” when some audience input was requested. I did all this while at school and more or less carrying out my regular duties and it didn’t cost me or my school anything. The only pity was that they did not broadcast the keynote speakers in this way, other than that it was nearly as good as being there. And if I hadn’t have been able to tune in live, or if I want to check out the other 4 sessions that were broadcast in this way I can listen and view a recording of the Elluminate session. I think that would detract from the immediacy of being in the live room but it is a great alternative when other commitments intervene.
Using Elluminate to reach a wider audience was an innovation in itself and truly reflected the spirit of the event – I hope we see more of this so that experiencing inspiring presentations is not limited to those who are physically and financially able to attend.
The other new feature is the Educator’s Guide to Innovation Ning which is
…part of action research by the Innovation and Next Practice division and will be available until December 31 2009.
There is a wealth of information around and about innovation including background on the presenters and video from the event. There have been a range of discussions going on leading up to the showcase and already several blog posts from people reflecting on the day. The ning will be a fantastic vehicle to maintain and build on the connections established through the showcase – I hope it doesn’t die at the end of the year but is allowed to continue to connect innovative educators. Check it out!