Saturday, August 10, 2013

Homeschool Conference Update

Our brand-new, first-time, world-wide, virtual conference is just under two weeks away. So exciting!

Please do let others know about the conference. It is free, and the goal is to provide an opportunity to share strategies, practices, and resources for those involved with homeschooling, unschooling, free schools, democratic schools, and other forms of alternative and independent education.

The week before the conference begins a conference schedule, with links to each session, will be posted on the site. The conference platform is Blackboard Collaborate, on online platform that combines video, audio, chat, presentation, and other capabilities, and it supports participation using Window, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, and Android. All of the sessions will be recorded and will be available immediately afterwards.

We are still getting our keynote and distinguished speakers organized, but committed so far are the terrific Pat Farenga (conference co-chair), Jerry Mintz, Clarck Aldrich, Peter Gray, Cindy Gaddis, Yale Wishnick, Elliot Washor, Charles Mojkowski, Laurette Lynn, and Maurice Gibbons. And we're still in discussion with several more!

This is intended to be a practitioner-driven conference, and we are accepting proposals to present until the 20th. Even if you've never presented before, we encourage you to consider doing so! More information is on the site.

This conference is highly collaborative, will have a number of presenters and attendees who are new to the virtual conference world, and we depend on a lot of volunteer help to pull off an event like this! If you have used Blackboard Collaborate (the conference virtual platform) before, we'd love to have your help in moderating sessions. If you haven't used it before, but you are willing to take the one-hour training (see below), even "newbies" can be of great help. See the "volunteer" link in the main conference menu on the site.

If you are presenting or volunteering, there is a one-hour training that we ask you to take. It's held live several times, and then also can be watched as a recording. The training sessions start this Monday, and the schedule and instructions are on the site--look for the "training" link under the "presenting" menu. You don't have to sign up to attend a training, just log on.

We're still working on this (part of the fun of creating and holding a conference in six weeks' time!), but we think we'll have at least a couple of films available to watch, and a couple of sessions where the directors and producers take questions.

Also still looking for sponsors or partnering organizations. Contact me directly if interested.

Join our advisory and outreach board and get some recognition on the site for helping to promote the conference. It's super-easy, low commitment, and just our way of recognizing those who spread the word.

Thanks for being a part of this event. I'll be offline for the next few days as our family moves to Asheville, North Carolina, to be a part of the new self-organized learning environment being set up on the beautiful site of what was once Black Mountain College. I'll be holding several events there around deep-thinking about learning, so look for news on that soon after our conference is over.

See you online!

Steve Hargadon 

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