Thursday, December 11, 2008

K12 Open Source Virtual Conference

OK, today I had one of those brainstorm ideas that made me sit up and wonder why I hadn't seen the possibilities before.

The talks at the K-12 Open Minds Conference were recorded this year, and a couple of weeks ago I posted the audio on the conference wiki. There were great sessions on Free and Open Source Software: Moodle, GIMP,, Python, and many more.

But it's just the audio recording, and depending on the placement of the mic and the voice level of the speakers, the quality varies quite a bit. So I got to thinking--most of the speakers had prepared slide presentations, and probably most of them could still give the same talk right now without much preparation. What if we used my Elluminate office and over the course of a couple of weeks recorded both the audio and the video, and then had a richer library for educators of the talks that were given?

Then I thought: why limit it to just those presentations that were given? What if we not only invited those who presented, but also invited anyone who couldn't make it to the conference and wanted to present? What if we held a virtual K-12 Open Source conference? I know, it's not rocket science, but it's still a dang good idea. We have the audience, we have the presenters--why wait?

By this time, my mind was reeling with the possibilities. An era of budget-cutting, which directly effects the ability for both presenters and audience to attend a physical event, means even more and more folks are going to be interested in Open Source... and need access to a good set of presentations from other educators. If the physical K12OpenMinds conference takes place in the Fall, maybe the virtual conference could take place each Spring.

Look for this in January or February on Oh, I love a good idea.


  1. Anonymous7:16 AM

    It is amazing when a "shift" idea finally starts to settle in. Even for those who are helping to lead the way, it is sometimes surprising when shift happens.

  2. @Dave: I keep being surprised by this. The first idea was to create a community for users of Open Source in K12 ( I mean, I consider myself pretty much of a passionate advocate of both Open Source and social networking, so why did it take so long for me to put the two together. Chocolate, peanut butter... (Dating myself...)

    What's interesting about the virtual conference idea is that I'm thinking it will be another rich mix--of my work in online webinars and in physical unconferences. I'm thinking of just having a wiki where anyone can schedule themselves to give a presentation, anyone can attend, we record them all, and in the end we have a great library of material. Why have a proposal/selection process? Let the audience determine what they attend or don't. Why limit anyone from speaking?

    I love a good idea... I hope this is one!


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