Friday, June 19, 2009

The Start of an Historic Change in Communication for Educators?

Date: Sat., June 20, 2009
Time: 9:00am Pacific/10:00am Mountain/11:00am Central/12:00pm Eastern
Location: in Elluminate at http://tinyurl.com/cr20live (Links to other time zones can be found at http://live.classroom20.com)

This Saturday, June 20th Kim Caise, Lorna Costantini, and Peggy George will be hosting another Classroom 2.0 LIVE show. As an extension to the Classroom 2.0 community, our "LIVE" shows are opportunities to gather with other educators in real-time events, complete with audio, chat, desktop sharing, and sometimes even video. A Google calendar of shows is available at http://live.classroom20.com/calendar.html.

The topic this Saturday is: "The BUZZ about LearnCentral" with me, Steve Hargadon as the guest speaker...:) I am the creator of the Classroom 2.0 network, and LearnCentral is a project I'm working in my new job with the online teaching and learning company Elluminate. Those who know me from my work with Ning know that I only like to work for companies that have products I really believe in, and that I only do so when I feel that I can use my position to represent the needs of educators in a way that I think will make a difference.

LearnCentral is a free social networking platform for educators that is being launched at NECC, and while still in its early stages, I believe it has the potential to help bring about historic changes in the ability for educators to communicate, collaborate, and share. It's the combination of the "asynchronous" social networking that's so great at Classroom 2.0 (and other networks) with the "synchronous" online meeting capability of Elluminate. Facebook-like in scope, we hope that it will become a place to easily:
  • Find other educators by their curricular interests, specialties, grade-level, or geography
  • Connect with them through discussion forums, groups, and one-click online meetings
  • Connect classrooms to other classrooms live
  • Create and hold webinars and online events (like Classroom 2.0 LIVE!) around any educational topic
  • Collect, organize, and share lesson plans, learning objects, and much more.
I see an incredible educational renaissance coming, where the excitement around collaborating with other educators that was largely accomplished by meeting at annual conferences starts to take place every day. Where a teacher can find other teachers with the same interests and passions, meet "live" in Elluminate, start sharing lesson plans, and even bring their classes into collaboration. I see a day (soon) when the individual educator, pursuing a niche topic of interest that he or she loves and that excites him or her as a learner, can be brought in as a guest speaker to a class on the other side of the world. Where anyone who cares about something in education can start a weekly or monthly meeting in Elluminate to share and brainstorm that topic. Where educational careers can be built around or supplemented as part of "Long Tail" areas of specialty focus. Last night for my Future of Education interview series we had a great panel discussion on the Future of Librarians--several of whom were (virtually) jumping up and down at the prospect of meeting online monthly to talk together. That's the kind of excitement that I'm loving about where this project can take us.

Elluminate has been a great company to work for, and they are willing to make this service free because 1) this is an historic moment and 2) being at the forefront of this opportunity should reflect very well on them and open new doors. I hope you'll come find out more and give your feedback, or explore http://www.LearnCentral.org on your own. If you're going to be at NECC, there will be a LearnCentral booth as a part of the Elluminate space in the exhibit hall, so look for me there (and at EduBloggerCon and NECCUnplugged and the Bloggers Cafe and the Open Source Pavilion and... :)

More information on tomorrow's event is at http://live.classroom20.com.
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