Sunday, June 28, 2009

NECC Unplugged: The Experiment Continues Monday - Wednesday

So, I'm not sure why ISTE allows me to be so experimental at NECC, but I'm really glad that they do since it's so much fun! EduBloggerCon 2009 was really fun again this year, and while the blog reports on attendance inexplicably vary, over 200 signed up for the Saturday night party, and if I had to guess we had some 125 - 150 who attended for some part of the un-conference day. It just felt intimate again, though, and was a lot less "controlled." The group felt fresh, with a lot of new faces, and I again realized once again that this is what I like and maybe what my true contribution to our community is: helping new educational users of Web 2.0 feel welcomed and supported. Seems like I always gravitate to this even though I personally love the deep drill-down stuff.

Tomorrow the fun continues with NECC Unplugged. My personal NECC hero, Anita McAnear, got or gave permission for us to run this again after our first try last year. This is something of an extension of EduBloggerCon but it runs the whole three days of NECC (starting tomorrow, June 29th) and anyone who wants to can sign up to present in our area. This does something miraculous: it allows for presentations from people who've never gotten to present at NECC before, and it allows for presentations on topics that weren't necessarily current when applications to present were due last fall.

The presentations slots are 30 minutes, and this year we actually have our own separate area across the hall from the Blogger's Cafe. AND we are "Elluminating" (live-streaming) the sessions so that those who aren't attending NECC have an additional way to tap into the conference "live." I spent some time getting ready for tomorrow, since the sound for the Elluminate sessions during EduBloggerCon wasn't great--we've got a separate mic for NECC Unplugged which goes directly into the broadcasting computer, and my 16-year-old daughter Kate has agreed to spend the next three days overseeing the technical since my NECC schedule and my new Elluminate job will keep me pretty darn occupied elsewhere most of the time.

Now, if you are actually at NECC, please note that there are still some empty slots on the wiki available if you want to present something! You can also come over and say "hi" and check up on Kate, who will likely be completely exhausted after the first day and will need the draw of new friendships to agree to come back Tuesday and Wednesday. :)

Another new feature of NECC Unplugged this year is the addition of virtual presentations. So, if you are not attending NECC you can still present to others who may be attending virtually. You also sign up on the wiki to do so, and the ever-amazing Kim Caise, one of the co-hosts of the Classrom 2.0 Live Saturday show, will be helping moderate those sessions. The wiki also has a column for any other "live" links for those watching from afar. If you are aware of any live-blogging or streaming, please add those links in the final column so that others can easily find them.

Finally, if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and want a really progressive activity to attend, Derrall Garrison has arranged a room at Foothill College for those who want to attend NECC remotely and watch the different streams while also having the association of gathering locally. I actually think this is a very cool model for "conference 2.0," where we blend the physical and the virtual, which I think is being done by some and will likely be done by more--imagine being able to attend NECC in 15 different cities "live," with sessions being streamed out to and between all the locations. Fascinating concept! Derrall has reserved Room 4002 at the Krause Center for Innovation at Foothill College from June 28th to July 1st from 8:00AM to 2:00 PM daily. Contact derrallg@gmail if you have any questions.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Angry About the Michael Jackson News Coverage and a Lost Opportunity

So, I'm in the middle of what are normally the three busiest weeks of the year for my job. Tomorrow a large conference event I run takes place, so I'm in Washington, DC, running around trying to get everything taken care of.

But every chance I've had I've turned on the TV or read news stories on my cell phone, hoping that somebody would take the opportunity to talk about Vitiligo and the likelihood that Michael Jackson actually had Vitiligo and that it would possibly explain the bleaching of his skin... that somebody would actually understand how debilitating Vitiligo can be, take this aspect of his life seriously, and acknowledge the pain that Michael and others with Vitiligo go through. I know there are many other controversial things to talk about regarding MJ, but I have not once heard the word Vitiligo mentioned in any story today--a story which could actually have substance and help others. How can that be?

I have Vitiligo. I'm light-skinned, and I developed it after I was married--so it's impact on me could be considered gentle compared to how emotionally debilitating it can be to those with darker skin for whom personal appearance--especially facial appearance--is much more socially critical. (The photo in this blog post is of Lee Thomas, an Emmy Award-winning TV broadcaster with Vitiligo who uses makeup to cover up his Vitiligo, and who has written a book called Turning White.) I run a growing social network for those with Vitiligo, and this immune disorder, which affects some 1 - 2% of the population, can tear at the hearts of those who have it.

I'm hoping that one of the Vitiligo research organizations has issued or will issue a press release at this time, at least giving some basic information about Vitiligo and shedding some light on what those with Vitiligo go through. I just did a Google search and it appears that MJ originally announced on Oprah that he had Vitiligo--seems like this would be a good story for her. Anyone have any connections?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Classroom 2.0 at 25,000 Members - What Has Social Networking Done for You?

Yesterday Classroom 2.0 hit 25,000 members. I was remembering that we thought the network was large when we had 500 members, and certainly many things have changed in the last couple of years. When I started Classroom 2.0, nobody knew what a "Ning" was, and there was a *lot* of skepticism that social networking had any place in professional development. :)

If you're willing, would you share how social networking--Classroom 2.0 or any other network you belong to--has impacted you, both personally and professionally? You can answer here or at the Classroom 2.0 thread.

EduBloggerCon is This Saturday and Classrom 2.0 is at 25K--So Let's Have a Party

It's hard to believe, but EduBloggerCon is this Saturday, kicking off for many of us our visit to NECC in Washington, DC. If you're going to be in DC on Saturday, please come for part or all of this free all-day "unconference," now in it's third year. You do not need to be registered for NECC to attend, and we'll have little badges like the one on the left so that you won't have be bothered by security getting in and out of the building during the day. If you're not going to be in DC, you'll be able to watch much of it live-streamed through Elluminate--including our Saturday Night party sponsored by Wikispaces which will also be celebrating Classroom 2.0 reaching 25,000 members yesterday. The links are on the wiki.

This event is not just for bloggers, but for anyone interested in the use of Web 2.0 in education and is subtitled "A Classroom 2.0 Meet-up." Organized on the wiki agenda by those attending, this is a day of "conversations." There are no formal presentations--just discussions that people who are attending propose and lead. Currently, about half the time slots have something in them. Last year we had people vote on the sessions to hold at the start of the day, but we've ditched that idea for this year and anyone who wants a session on any topic can set one up! This is based on feedback from last year that people wanted more and smaller discussions, so we've arbitrarily created six tracks, and can create more if we need to.

We're also going to be giving out some buttons made by Sue Waters and the Edublogs team to help make sure that those who might feel shy and need help 1) getting to know others or 2) learning to use Web 2.0 tools get the attention they deserve! When you arrive you get to pick which button best describes you. :)

We'll be broadcasting through Elluminate what takes place in the main room (so that includes Vicki Davis's Web 2.0 "Smackdown" event!). We also have some Elluminate rooms set up if anyone wants to hold virtual sessions for virtual attendees--no one has signed up to do that yet, but if anyone wants to, we'll try to make it happen--if you're nostalgic about not attending this year, we want to give you some options! As a special event this year, the director of the film Us Now will be joining us live to challenge the education community to find a way to remix or reuse the films content to create an educational version.

Whether you are there physically or virtually, EduBloggerCon is guaranteed to be a great time! We did add into the schedule an hour of socializing before the event actually begins, so be sure to come early. If you are going to attend the (physical) Wikispaces party from 6:00 - 8:00 pm at Regional Food and Drink, be sure to sign up (free) so they know how many will attend. I'll be bringing my netbook, projector, webcam, and Verizon wireless connection to the party with the hopes that those who need to attend virtually can get in on the action!

Here's to a very fun day!

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 (Links to other time zones can be found at

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

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 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

Monday, June 15, 2009

Collaborating on a Version of "Us Now" Film for Education

I just got off a Google video chat (very decent quality, and picture in picture--which I really like for recording purposes) with Ivo Gormley, the director of the film Us Now which I watched for the first time last week. The film asks: "In a world in which information is like air, what happens to power?" It's about how new technologies and a closely related culture of collaboration present radical new models of social organization, especially around government.

While I wished there had been a section on education, I tweeted out (rare for me!) that I wasn't sure why the film wasn't getting more attention. Ivo @-replied to me asking how they might get the film "out there more" and since then we've been brainstorming that by email and now on a live call. He's especially interested in extending the project to the education arena--what can or will education and learning be like in the new information world? Since this is what my Future of Education interview series is all about, it's a match made in heaven.

Here's our plan: Ivo is going to come in live by video to EduBloggerCon and ask us to help build a version of the film that is geared toward education. Maybe we'll screen the film during lunch for those who haven't watched it (embedded below so you can watch now if you want). Then we'll hold an unconference session with those who want to be a part of that organizing, and see what we can come up with. He and I had some fun ideas, but we want to see what ideas the community will have. It would be most fun if this were a real community undertaking!

So, if you're going to be at EduBloggerCon in DC on the 27th, hopefully you'll consider taking part in this activity. In the meantime, check it out!

Drilling Down on the 2020 Forecast: Creating the Future of Learning

I'm really grateful to Knowledgeworks for helping to sponsor the Future of Education interview series the past several months. Part of the goal was to create an audience for discussing their newly-released 2020 Forecast, which is an amazing document.

This past Friday, I spent a couple of hours with Barbara Diamond, Katherine Prince, and Jesse Moyer from Knowledgeworks "drilling down" on the Forecast, which we did in Elluminate and recorded straight through. This was one of the most productive and rewarding projects I have done in a long time, and I think may become a pattern for me for future activities of this kind. The 2020 Forecast is a rich and thoughtful look at the forces that are likely to affect education over the next 10+ years, with the end goal of helping to facilitate the creation of transformative solutions for the future. That being said, the document is so densely packed with good insight that it may be daunting to open and study on one's own. Ergo, our video!

I like to think that this is the equivalent of the director's commentary on a DVD. We tried to create the same kind of experience--for you to hear stories and insights from those who helped to shape the Forecast. I've spent almost six months paying attention to this work, and I learned a lot while doing this recording. This is well-worth your time, and I hope you'll give it a listen.

Drill-down on KnowledgeWorks Foundation 2020 Forecast from Steve Hargadon on Vimeo.

Links for following along:

Live Event: Joyce Valenza and Friends Discuss the Future of Librarians

Future of Education Interview Series
Event Page at Future of Education

Date: Thursday, June 18th, 2009
5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 12am GMT (next day) (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Elluminate. Log in at

Joyce Valenza leads a discussion on the future of librarians and their role in education with Buffy Hamilton, Cathy Nelson, and Carolyn Foote. The actual session title is: "Is There a Place for Media Specialists Who Don't Know Social Media?"

Joyce Valenza has been the librarian at Springfield Township High School (PA) since 1998. For ten years, she was the techlife@school columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Joyce is the author of Power Tools, Power Research Tools and Power Tools Recharged for ALA Editions. She currently blogs for School Library Journal. Her NeverendingSearch Blog (now on the SLJ website) won an Edublogs Award for 2005 and was nominated again in 2008. She won the AASL/Highsmith research grant in 2005. Joyce is a Milken Educator and an American Memory Fellow. Her video series, Internet Searching Skills was a YALSA Selected Video for Young Adults in 1999. The video series Library Skills for Children was released in 2003, and her six-volume video series Research Skills for Students was released in Fall 2004. Super Searchers Go to School, was published by Information Today in 2005. Her Virtual Library won the IASL School Library Web Page of the Year Award for 2001. Joyce is active in ALA, AASL, YALSA, and ISTE and contributes to Classroom Connect, VOYA, Learning and Leading with Technology, and School Library Journal. Joyce speaks nationally about issues relating to libraries and thoughtful use of educational technology. Joyce earned her doctoral degree from the University of North Texas in August, 2007.

Buffy Hamilton ( is a school library media specialist at Creekview High School (The Unquiet Library) in Canton, Georgia. Hamilton, who earned her Ed.S. in Instructional Technology/School Library Media at the University of Georgia, is a seventeen year veteran. Her interests include social scholarship, participatory librarianship, connectivism, and personal learning networks for students and adults.

Cathy Nelson is a 22 year veteran educator. She is a teacher-librarian, aka school library media specialist from South Carolina. Cathy is transitioning from a middle school in the Myrtle Beach area to Dorman High School in the Spartanburg area of SC. Cathy is a member of ISTE, ALA, AASL, and the state and local affiliates of those organizations. She particpates in many online forums and nings as well, and strives to evangalize student engagement and making learning relevant through the tools students love. Being in the school media center is the perfect place to make a difference with students and teachers alike.

Carolyn Foote, a high school and district librarian at Westlake High School in Austin, TX, had a small feature in School Library Journal, October 2007, as well as an article on Skype in the January 2008 and was included in the article, “Mattering in the School Blogosphere” in American Libraries Magazine in May 2007. Having recently redesigned a library, she is fascinated by the future of physical libraries and their services. Her blog can be found at

The Elluminate room ( will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event.

Many thanks to KnowledgeWorks Foundation and Elluminate for their support for the Future of Education interview series.

Live Event: Panel Discussion on The Future of Books and Reading

Future of Education Interview Series
Event Page

Date: Wednesday, June 17th, 2009
5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 12am GMT (next day) (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Elluminate. Log in at

There are dramatic changes taking place that seem likely to change our experiences with books and reading. They include: pre-publication "wikified" collaboration, electronic delivery, open licensing, increased author-reader and reader-reader conversation, shared annotations, and more. Join this amazing panel as we peer into the near and long-term future of the reading experience.

Will Richardson is known internationally for his work with educators and students to understand and implement instructional technologies and, more specifically, the tools of the Read/Write Web into their schools, classrooms and communities. A public school educator for 22 years, Will’s own Weblog ( is a primary resource for the creation and implementation of Weblog technologies on the K-12 level and is a leading voice for school reform in the context of the fundamental changes these new technologies are bringing to all aspects of life. His critically acclaimed, best-selling book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Tools for Classrooms (March 2006, Corwin Press) is already being used by thousands of teachers to reinvent their practice, and his keynotes, presentations and workshops to audiences around the world communicate a fresh and inspiring vision of what schools can and must become. He is a founding partner of the Connective Learning Group which is dedicated to assisting educators contextualize and implement Read/Write Web tools into their schools and classrooms.

Bob Burg is a highly sought-after speaker at corporate, financial services and direct sales conventions. His critically acclaimed book, Endless Referrals: Network Your Everyday Contacts Into Sales has sold over 200,000 copies and continues to be used as a training manual for top sales organizations throughout the world. His latest national bestseller (and one of Steve's favorite books), The Go-Giver has been heralded as a new business classic. It’s been translated into 14 languages and has already topped the 100,000 mark.

Travis Alber is the co-founder of Her day-to-day role has been Chief Creative Officer, creating the look and feel for the website and the Unbound Reader, and managing marketing and communications. Prior to founding Travis was a creative director at She has eleven years of on-line experience, and has worked in web design, advertising, online training and education. Her client history includes: Cisco, Sprint,
Playstation, Wells Fargo, Macys, Midway Games and Dodge. In addition, Travis has won a number of awards for her interactive art, and has been recognized by Drunken Boat, The Flash Forward Film Festival, and the Electronic Literature Organization. She has a Masters Degree in Interactive Multimedia.

Aaron Miller is the co-founder of His role is Chief Technical Officer, where he manages the architecture and development of the Unbound Reader, Catalog, website, and all widgets and APIs. He has eleven years experience working on-line; professionally he’s worked on both the creative and technical sides of projects—working at times as a writer and designer and at others a developer in San Francisco and LA. His clients include Wells Fargo, Organic, and Driving Media. Aaron has a Master’s Degree in Interactive Multimedia and an MFA in Creative Writing from UC Irvine.

Maggie Tsai is the Chief Diigo Ambassador and Co-founder of Diigo. Diigo provides a powerful online research and collaborative research tool that integrates tags and folders, highlighting, clipping and sticky notes, and group-based collaboration, enabling a whole new process of online information management.

Wall Street Journal: How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write
Wired Magazine: Clive Thompson on the Future of Reading in a Digital World
Will Richardson: New Reading, New Writing

The Elluminate room ( will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Live Event: Frontline's "Digital Nation" Project with Producer/Director Rachel Dretzin

Future of Education Interview Series

Date: Wednesday, June 17th, 2009
8am Pacific / 11am Eastern / 3pm GMT (next day) (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Elluminate. Log in at

Join us as we talk with producer/director Rachel Dretzin about PBS FRONTINE’s “Digital Nation” project, and specifically what the educational community can do to be a part of it.

“Digital Nation” is a multiplatform documentary initiative that explores how the Web and digital media are impacting the way we think, learn and interact. The project will unfold through a series of online video reports and user-submitted stories that will springboard into a documentary to air winter 2010. Topics will include education and technology, human development, online privacy, virtual worlds and online games, technology in the military, digital media in the workplace and more.

Central to the “Digital Nation” is a mosaic of user-generated videos, audio, photos, comments and posts that contribute to “Digital Nation” reports. As part of their chapter on educational technology, “Education in the Digital Age,” FRONTLINE and the “Digital Nation” team are asking educators to collaborate on this unfolding chapter on education by submitting stories and comments on how technology impacts their classrooms, their work and their lives.

An award-winning journalist, Rachel has been producing documentaries for FRONTLINE since the mid-1990s. She and her husband, filmmaker Barak Goodman, are joint partners in Ark Media, a documentary production company based in Brooklyn, New York. Together, they have produced and directed numerous documentaries for FRONTLINE, including: The Lost Children of Rockdale County (1999) winner of the George Foster Peabody Award; the three-part series Failure to Protect (2003), winner of the duPont-Columbia Silver Baton as well as the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award Grand Prize; Merchants of Cool (2001); The Persuaders (2004); and A Hidden Life (2006). Independently, Rachel's films for FRONTLINE include Hillary's Class (1994); Betting on the Market (1997); The High Price of Health (1998); The Search for Satan (1995) and Growing Up Online (2008). She has also produced for WNET New York, NPR's All Things Considered, MSNBC's Edgewise and most recently, a short film for The New York Times Magazine on the Web. She and Goodman have three children, ages 11, 8 and 6.

Link: Digital Nation Project Website
Link: Future of Education event page and discussion

The Elluminate room ( will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event.

Many thanks to KnowledgeWorks Foundation and Elluminate for their support for the Future of Education interview series.