Thursday, April 30, 2009

Three Great Remote (and Free!) Ed Tech Events This Weekend

Three great events are taking place this weekend that you can participate in remotely! All are being held through Classroom 2.0's Elluminate account, and links are below.

1. PodStock, this Friday and Saturday (May 1 & 2). This is the brainchild of the ever-amazing Kevin Honeycutt. Podstock is a brand new conference designed to bring podcast creators and those who see the real value of podcasting as creators and consumers together. The physical conference is in Old Town Wichita, Kansas, but one whole track of the conference is being live-streamed through Classroom 2.0's Elluminate account. The event schedule for Friday is at, and the event schedule for Saturday is at The Elluminate link that you use to attend for both days is Wichita is Central Daylight Time, so take that into account when looking at their program.
ADDED: Jerry Butler just sent this message: "Join us at Podstock virtually if you can't be there in person! Thanks to Steve Hargadon and, we will be sharing sessions on Elluminate. Go to starting at 9:15 Central Time and log on to join the fun. I will be running the back channel conversations and helping you join the educational movement. It's two days of Education, Learning and Fun and you won't want to miss it! Also, join us for our simultaneous RL/SL dance party at: Starting at 5:00 SLT (Pacific) 7:00 Central.
2. MIT's New Media Literacies Spring Conference, this Saturday (May 2). This one-day event, "Learning in a Participatory Culture," is being held physically in Boston and is also being streamcast in its entirety (all tracks!). Because there are different Elluminate links for each track, you'll need to use this detailed schedule to click through to individual sessions. Boston is Eastern Daylight Time, so take that into account when looking at the program.

3. Our regular Classroom 2.0 "LIVE" Saturday show (May 2). 9am PDT / 12pm EDT. Our topic this week is "Managing Social Networks" with special guest, Angelia Maiers - author of the book, Classroom Habitudes. Please join for some great information and tips about managing social networks and the concept 'Inbox Zero'. More information and session details are at The direct Elluminate link is

It should be a very exciting weekend for learning remotely! :) Hope you have some fun!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Creating the Future of Learning - KnowledgeWorks Foundation's 2020 Forecast & Interview

Tomorrow we have a special event in the Future of Education interview series:  an interview with Chad Wick and Andrea Saveri on "KnowledgeWorks Foundation's 2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning."

KnowledgeWorks Foundation is the primary sponsor of the Future of Education interview series, and they deserve a huge round of applause.  We've had a terrific lineup so far, and have some great interviews coming up (Michael Horn, Chris Dede, Michael Wesch, John Seely Brown, David Thornburg, and more!).  The interviews are live through Elluminate, but are also are recorded and available to listen or watch at any time.  

Tomorrow, April 21st, KnowledgeWorks Foundation President and CEO Chad Wick and futurist Andrea Saveri will join us to explore key forces of change that will shape the landscape of learning over the next decade, and how we are moving toward a culture of creation and innovation. We'll dive into the 2020 Forecast and accompanying website experience for an hour, including a Q&A period.

Date: Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Time: 12:30pm Pacific / 3:30pm Eastern / 7:30pm GMT (international times here)

Location: In Elluminate. Log in at   The Elluminate room will be open up 15 minutes before the event if you want to come in early.

To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit

Chad Wick is driven by a desire to create equity of educational opportunity in  order to effectively prepare all students for college, work, and citizenship in the 21st century. Recognized by former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley as "one of the outstanding education leaders in the country," Chad leads KnowledgeWorks Foundation in its mission to increase the number and diversity of people who value and access public education. As the founding president and CEO, he has led the Foundation to achieve this mission by providing not only seed grants and operating funds, extensive technical assistance and training, but policy and advocacy projects that promote and support sustainable, system-wide changes.

Prior to starting her own independent practice, Andrea Saveri worked for Institute for the Future, a non-profit think tank in Palo Alto. As a research director, her career at IFTF included leading large-scale domestic and international research studies in technology adoption, social innovation, and networked organizational structures. At IFTF she launched FutureCommons, an open networked thinking community, and initiated IFTF's transition to a networked organizational model, applying her research to IFTF's strategic plan. She pioneered IFTF's work with teens, developing curriculum to teach youth about forecasting and long-term thinking. Over the years she has presented research and facilitated numerous client meetings from the managerial and operational levels to the executive and board levels.

Created with the Institute for the Future, the 2020 Forecast highlights key forces of change that will shape learning over the next decade. In particular, it shows how creation and innovation are becoming more essential for success than ever before.
To be successful in tomorrow's new economy, today's students will have to be able to learn and adapt quickly and frequently.
In highlighting such trends, the 2020 Forecast aims to help anyone with a stake in learning anticipate and prepare for change.

Having been engaged in a disciplined study of future forces affecting education since 2006, KnowledgeWorks is working to transform education in the US from a world of schooling to a world of learning.
This world calls not for better schools, but for entirely new kinds of learning environments.
To be successful in it, tomorrow's learners will not just need better teachers; they will need guides who take on fundamentally different roles.
KnowledgeWorks invites educators and others interested in the future of learning to use the 2020 Forecast to support visioning and strategic planning. Anyone can start exploring by visiting

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Rapid Building of a Website Using Social Media Tools

This past week, with limited time, I've built the website Whatever your view is of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), it is important that the disbursed funds are spent on programs that deliver good long-term results. The goal of the site is to provide information and access to events, resources, and discussion areas relating to the educational portion of the the funds--and hopefully to help facilitate a dialog that will promote that good decision-making.

While the site is assuredly simple, I think it serves as a potential example for those interested in the use of Web 2.0 and collaborative Web technologies to help promote dialog by rapidly building topic-specific websites using social media tools. What follows is a description of how has been constructed. I am amazed at the significant abilities currently available with free and low-cost tools to coalesce resources and discussion around specific topics. Hopefully this information is interesting to some.

The site was created using the Web-based site creation program Weebly. Great for fast website prototyping, the program is free to use with some small advertising for their company in the footer, or in a very inexpensive upgraded form without the advertising and with some additional features. In either version, you are able to associate a domain name with the site for free. For student portfolio projects, this site is an undiscovered gem.

The "Home" tab includes some widgets, one of this is a Twitter box. I created a Twitter account for his project (, and then I propose here the use of the specific tag "#edstimulus" to allow easy following and searching of posts in Twitter on the educational stimulus discussion. On my own Netvibes page, where I track many Twitter search phrases and can also post to my multiple Twitter accounts from one place, I added a widget to now track this code.

The "Events" tab uses an embedded Google calendar form to display upcoming events. Anyone with permission to access to this calendar can add events which will show up automatically on the site. The ability to request to hold an event is through Weebly's pre-structured integration with HourTown. This could also easily be accomplished with a Google form.

The "Discuss" tab also utilizes a pre-configured integration Weebly has established, this time with Nabble. While it's not necessarily our long-term plan to host conversation on this site, the features of Nabble are very impressive. Set up was easy, but the featureset is robust enough that I haven't even fully looked at all the options. I will certainly do so if there is enough dialog to warrant the attention. :)

The "Links" tab draws RSS feeds through standard Weebly elements placed on the page, with the feeds coming from the social bookmarking tool Diigo's "enhanced linkrolls" tool. While the bookmarking feature is just one part of Diigo's amazing repertoire, it's a very effective way to maintain a dynamic link list on a website with very little work. I've set up a news alert from Google on the phrase "education stimulus" to come to me once a day, and any relevant sites I find I can "bookmark" by right-clicking in my Firefox web browser and adding the appropriate description and tags (this requires loading the Diigo add-on for Firefox, which is easy). Depending on the tags I use, these items show up immediately in the lists on the website.

The "News" tab first takes an RSS feed from searching Twitter ( for "edstimulus" and displays that. Then I've taken the same Google news alert RSS feed and placed it in an RSS element box on the page.

"Voices" is our blog tab. The blog is a Blogger blog at, so we link to that but there is also RSS feed element using the blog's feed to show the postings in reverse chronological order on the page. Clicking on one of them opens a new tab or window and takes you to that specific post.

The "Archive" tab also utilizes the same Diigo features, just drawing from a different tag set.

Any other ideas most welcome! One unique aspect of the site is that it allows you to schedule and hold, for free, live public web events using the platform, which is a direct benefit of my working for Elluminate now. We've also been soliciting partner organizations to help provide events, information, promotion, or staff-time support for The site is for informational purposes and the only financial interest associated with this project at this point is Elluminate allowing a portion of my time to work on it.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

U.S. Educational Stimulus Aid and - Feedback?

I could use some feedback for a simple website I've built around the idea of helping promote good long-term decision-making with the educational stimulus funds. The idea is fairly simple, but has a "subtext" as well: to also help show administrators the value of Web 2.0 and social media by giving them some direct experience with benefits in a very practical area. has the following components:

1. A Twitter feed for announcements (especially of events).
2. A public calendar of any events I see, both free and paid, around the educational stimulus package (taken from a Google calendar and updated automatically).
3. A way for anyone to apply to hold their own Elluminate sessions (for free) on this topic. I can do this because of my work for Elluminate, and their interest in having the Elluminate platform make a difference (and be visible) in this larger discussion. Will people find a use for this? Are there folks who will be interested in hold a free webinars/discussions on using the stimulus funds wisely?
4. A prototype discussion forum. I really need help understanding this--which is: what kind of discussions are decision-makers going to want to have, and will they want the confidentiality of a private network in order to feel free to talk about this topic?
5. A links page to other resources (that draws, if anyone is interested, from my Diigo social bookmarking account).
6. A news page with a feed from Google News based on the phrase "educational stimulus."
7. An archive page for links to recordings of past events.

I'm a little fascinated by the ability that our current social media landscape gives me to relatively easily create and update a resource site like this around a specific topic. But I don't think the site will make much of a difference if I don't get some help in refining the idea and growing it beyond my initial brainstorm.

Here's where I think I could use some help:

1. Are there features that could be included in the site that I haven't thought of? (For instance, since a portion of the funds will be given out based on grant applications, would it help to have a blog specifically on that topic as a part of the site?)
2. If the site is truly useful, and if so, how do we get the word out to administrators and decision-makers?
3. Is there anyone dying to help with this? I'm figuring it would help to have some others who can track events, bookmark resources, give information webinars, and facilitate panel discussions or group meetings.

Thanks for your attention. Please feel free to respond here, to email me directly at, or to add your thoughts at a discussion post on Future of Education.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Blowing the Doors off NECC 2009

One of the most enjoyable ed tech events of the year is the National Educational Computing Conference each summer. This year it's in Washington, DC from June 28 - July 1st. Tomorrow, as part of our regular Classroom 2.0 LIVE show, we're going to talk about blowing the doors off of the regular conference experience, both for those physically attending and for those who can only participate remotely.

This meeting should be a lot of fun. I have what I think are some really fun ideas, and Wes Fryer is going to help me moderate a brainstorming session so we can get planning going. (We're going to be looking for volunteers to help!) Because of my work at Elluminate, we also have unlimited access to their services, which should allow a lot of remote participation!

Here are some things we will discuss:

EduBloggerCon. Not just for bloggers, but for EVERYONE interested in Web 2.0 in education, our one-day, Saturday (June 27th) unconference event will be our THIRD at NECC, and let's make sure it's the best ever. Based on feedback from last year, we need to make sure there's a lot of self-organization and socializing allowed. I have this crazy idea to encourage people who can't attend NECC to hold their own concurrent online sessions and tap into the larger event. I can even imagine smaller locally-organized groups of even two or three people possibly getting together in their local areas if we set up a wiki page for this.

NECC Unplugged and NECC Live. I want to consider merging these two projects into one. NECC Unplugged is our special program for anyone to sign up to present at NECC in our special lounge area, which (hopefully!) this year will be separate from but adjacent to the Blogger's Cafe so that we don't have too much going on at once. Didn't get accepted to present, or have a topic that's come up recently? You'll be able to sign up for a time slot, and we're going to live-stream the whole thing through Elluminate! NECC Live was a wiki last year listing all streaming/blogging going on at NECC, and I want to propose that this be merged with NECC Unplugged into one site.

Twitter & Live-Blogging: we can talk about the best ways to utilize Twitter, and if there's any value in agreeing on hash-tags, platforms, or anything else.

If I've missed anything, please come to our session tomorrow and particpate!

Time: 9am Pacific / 12pm Eastern / 5pm GMT

Location: Classroom 2.0 LIVE Elluminate room:

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