Monday, June 02, 2008

Indiana Is the Place to Be

The 2008 K-12 Open Minds Conference is now scheduled for September 25 - 27 at the downtown Marriott in Indianapolis, Indiana. The sponsorship prospectus is beginning to be emailed out, and the registration website should be on line later this week.

To register interest in attending the conference, you can go to This site will ultimately remain as the conference wiki, but the permanent site will be If you or your organization is interested in being a sponsor or exhibitor at K-12 Open Minds, please contact me.

OK, so the logo is a little "busy." We're working on it! :)

Here are excerpts from the sponsorship prospectus:


Schools around the United States and the world are discovering the the benefits of Open-Source Software. In Indiana alone, over 125,000 students use Open-Source Software every day. Not only does Open Source save money, it allows schools to extend the benefits of technology more broadly, affording a better education to students.

On September 25 - 27, 2008, the second annual International K-12 Open Minds Conference will be held at the downtown Marriott in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Organizing Committee:

Donna Benjamin, Education Spokesperson for Open Source Industry Australia
Cathy Blitzer, Indiana Department of Education
Kim Brand, President, FileEngine, Inc.
Emily Garaffo, Indiana Department of Education
Forrest Gaston, Consultant, Central Indiana Education Service Center (CIESC)
Jim Gerry, Illinois Math and Science Institute
Steve Hargadon, Project Director, CoSN K-12 Open Technologies Initiative
Jim Hirsch, CIO, Plano Independent School District
Tom Hoffman, SchoolTool
Daniel Howard, President and CEO, Georgia Open Source Education Foundation
Mike Huffman, Indiana Department of Education
Jim Klein, Director of Information Services and Technology, Saugus-Union School District (California)
Kevin McGuire, Director of Information Technology and Media Services, Michigan City Area Schools
Steve Midgley, CTO, Tuckapilla, LLC
Dr. Kathryn Moyle, Associate Professor, University of Canberra
Randy Orwin, Director of Technology, Bainbridge Island School District - Washington State
Bryant Patten, Executive Director, The National Center for Open Source and Education (NCOSE)
Benoit St-Andre, Education Services Director, Revolution Linux
Scott Swanson, Strategic Technology Coordinator, Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
Laura Taylor, Indiana Department of Education
Dr. David Thornburg, Executive Director, The Thornburg Center
David Trask, FOSSed

History The first-ever K-12 Open Minds conference was held in October of 2007 in Indianapolis. Largely organized by the Indiana Department of Education, with support from Indiana University, the conference drew 342 attendees, with more than 70 speakers in over 100 sessions. The keynote speakers were Dr. David Thornburg (futurist and noted author), Dr. David Cavallo (Director of the Future of Learning Group at the MIT Media Laboratory), and Benjamin Mako Hill (Board Member, Free Software Foundation, Advisor to OLPC project, MIT Media Labs researcher, member of the Ubuntu Community Council).

Sponsors included Asus, Dell, Educational Collaborators, ENA, HP, ImpariSystems, Intel, Matrix Integration, Novell, R Cubed Technologies, SAFARI Montage, Stoneware, Inc., and Tandberg.

A significant one-day pre-conference was held with 35 U.S. and International Open Source advocates and "thinkers" who worked to share and help each other develop "roadmaps" for the introduction and use of Open Source Software in educational systems. Representatives came from Canada, Spain (2), France (2), Norway (2), and Germany.

This Year's Conference

Focus: K-12 Open Minds will be the definitive event in North America for advocacy and learning around Open Source Software and Open Technologies in K-12 education. The conference focus is on the three critical areas for the adoption and use of Open Technologies: Leadership, Teaching and Learning, and Technical. The conference should both attract existing decision-makers as well as to help develop leaders from within the educator community.

Attendance: Attendance estimates for this year are 400 - 500 participants. The success of last year's conference and the addition of a more robust planning process would indicate the likelihood of increased participation at this year's event. Holding the conference in Indiana will increase the potential for continued support because of the State's pioneering efforts in the Open Source arena. The earlier Fall date is to accommodate the ability for schools to use their 2008 budget funds. We estimate that the conference registration fee will be under $200, which makes it a very good conference value.

Sponsors: Sponsoring organizations will be treated as partners, and starting in June a monthly Sponsor Advisory Committee will be convened over the telephone. Sponsors will be asked to consider using their internal and promotional resources to promote the conference. With this spirit in mind, we would also ask each organization to make recommendations for speakers and presenters, from within their organizations or without. One thing sponsors should note is that we are considering hosting a pre-conference "Vendor Event," giving direct access to teachers, technicians, and administrators in an Open Source environment to talk about what they want and need. A school visit could be included. Your opinions on this kind of an activity would be collected via the Sponsor Advisory Committee conference calls or through direct correspondence with any of the organizing committee members listed above.

Speakers: Keynote speaker availability is being solicited currently. Dr. David Thornburg has already agreed to speak as a keynote speaker. Keynote suggestions are welcomed and encouraged.

Organization: The actual conference organization and logistics are being managed by the non-profit National Center for Open Source and Education,

International Participation: As was the case last year, there will be a concerted effort to involve the international community in a significant way, including a one-day pre-conference brainstorm or "roadmap" session. A portion of sponsorship dollars will be used to facilitate participation by representatives in countries where Open Source Software is having a noticeable impact on education, and there are also additional opportunities to contribute to that fund. In addition to the countries represented last year, we are anxious to make similar invitations to individuals in Portugal, Brazil, Chile, the Philippines, South Africa, and Australia.

Student Participation: There will be a push this year to increase the level of student participation at the conference, and even the hope of convening a student committee for oversight of a showcase area, a student keynote, and student presentations. A small portion of sponsorship dollars will go toward this effort as detailed below, but with some dedicated sponsorship student involvement could be enhanced.

Awards: This year K-12 Open Minds will be making some awards to recognize leadership and accomplishment in the use of Open Source Software in K-12 education.

Promotion: Promotion of the conference last year was largely by word of mouth and some active blogging efforts. This year's promotional efforts will include:

  • Proactive use of media contacts to generate publicity
  • Wider efforts to involve the educational and Open Source blogging communities
  • Promotion to past attendees
  • K-12 Open Minds will also be a sponsor of the Open Source Pavilion at the National Educational Computing Conference (NECC), distributing promotional materials and giving promotional talks
Sponsors are encouraged to take advantage of and help contribute to both of pre- and post-conference publicity. Effort will be made to audio or video record every session where the speaker(s) agree to do so. Recordings will be posted on the conference website so that they can be used as resources at a later date. A social network for the conference is planned as well, which should allow for continuing dialog and contact after the event.

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like a great conference, and it's merging on my future home-city (in a few weeks). I will definitely read more about it, and hopefully NoteScribe will be represented there.


    NoteScribe: Premier Note Taking Software


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