Thursday, June 07, 2007

Are We Ready for a Classroom 2.0 Conference?

The Classroom 2.0 social network has over 1,100 members now. About 100 new sign-ups per week, and lots of good conversations. Not sure what it all means, but it does demonstrate some real interest by some percentage of educators in the use of technology and Web 2.0 tools in the classroom.

Last year I attended the Office 2.0 conference in San Francisco (we set up the press room with our LiveKiosk computers). At the time, I blogged about the absence of an education track, since it seemed to me that the technology would have great application for education, and a huge number of the creators of Web 2.0 applications were in attendance.

Well, when the plans for the 2007 Office 2.0 conference were recently announced (September 5-7), I pinged conference organizer Ishmael Ghalini and asked if they had thought about an education track this year. He said, let's do it, and then asked me if I would organize it.

So, time for some questions.

The Office 2.0 conference is not inexpensive ($1,495, early bird of $995), and it's held at a pretty posh hotel (St. Regis Hotel, San Francisco, CA). The education track might only have to be one day.

Question 1: Is "Classroom 2.0" ready for a conference, or a track at a conference?

Question 2: If we are ready, do we want a formal conference like this, or something less formal like an "unconference?" (See our upcoming EduBloggerCon 2007 for an example.)

Question 3: What should it cost to come to a Classroom 2.0 conference?

Question 4: If we decided to go with a formal conference, who would you want to hear from? Web 2.0 creators? Teachers? Educational "talking heads?"

Question 5: How valuable would it be to have the Web 2.0 program creators at a Classroom 2.0 conference or conference track?

Question 6: Should a "Classroom 2.0" conference or conference track be for administrators, educators, or both?

Question 7: I have also liked the idea of doing some regional Classroom 2.0 conferences, with lots of teacher-led content. Does that strike anyone as a better model?

One of the things that was so fun about the Office 2.0 conference last year was hearing from the creators of programs as they each quickly presented what their program can do. And that was nicely balanced by panel discussions about the value of Web 2.0 technologies in the office or enterprise. Seems like whatever we do, we'd want to have a large hands-on component, but the more "philosophical" discussions would really be interesting as well--how can/will education change because of the new collaborative tools of the Web, for example.

So, feedback please. I'm cross-posting this in Classroom 2.0 as well.


  1. Steve,

    Can't thank you enough for pulling this idea together. Here are my answers:

    1. I think Classroom 2.0 is definitely ready for a conference. With the popularity and the discussions that springing out of the Ning site, it shows that people are ready to move in this direction on a big scale.

    2. I like your point about hearing from the developers themselves regarding their products and their capabilities, so I would lean toward a more formal conference, but that EduBloggerCon type gathering could be a smaller part of the conference, maybe like a culminating event.

    3. Cost is tough, but we should try to keep it as low as possible, as I know here in New Jersey, the state has made it all but impossible to attend conferences out of state without shelling out your own dollars. For us modestly paid teacher, high conference fees are a deterrent.

    4. I would like to see a mix of presenters; for example, it would be great to hear from the developers of a product and on the same stage have educators or specialists showing specific uses of the product in educational settings. This way, we get theoretical and practical in one.

    5. See answer 4.

    6. This conference should be for both administrators and educators, without a doubt. We need educational leaders on all levels to begin to see the potential of these tools and these new literacies to transform our current educational philosophy.

    7. I wish I had really read this question first because this would most likely keep the cost down while providing some more scalable collaborative efforts by educators.

    I now have my ears perked for further news of this. Thanks again.

  2. Anonymous5:50 AM

    Question 1: "Classroom 2.0" is ready for a conference!

    Question 2: An unconference. Have you been to the Unconvention Center in NYC?

    Question 3: Not too expensive.

    Question 4: I'd like to hear from Web 2.0 creators, teachers, and the Educational "talking heads."

    Question 5: I feel it is valuable for Web 2.0 program creators to attend, but they should be outnumbered by the teachers who will keep them in check. :D

    Question 6: A "Classroom 2.0" conference should be mainly for educators.

    Question 7: A regional Classroom 2.0 conference would be great too.

    Thanks for asking for feedback.


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