Technically, the Internet is just a bunch of computers connected together so that they can exchange data. As a result of this though, the wired world ended up with a massive communications network. And somehow, an idea of free culture has spread round and round this network. That helps everyone. There are many free things I could write about, but today it's about free learning.
The K12 Online Conference is a free, completely online conference about using web 2.0 and new technologies in the classroom. It is facilitated by a group of dedicated volunteers, and the presentations are created by volunteers as well. I happen to be a presenter this year, but that's not why I'm writing about it. I'm writing because the conference is a treasure trove of information for any educator looking to improve their craft.
Just like a traditional conference there are keynotes and conference strands. The great part if that for most events you don't have to be there live, you can listen whenever you want, wherever you want. Some events though are live and interactive. If you have an iPod (or other mp3 audio player) it is incredibly easy to tune in. Simply follow the link to the audio feed, and subscribe using iTunes. Then, each time a new presentation is released, your computer will automatically download the presentation. Then, just listen on your iPod or on your computer. Keep in mind that there are enhanced (or video) presentations as well, but your iPod might only be able to play audio files (unless you have a video-capable iPod or digital audio player).
If you are interested in using technology in your classroom, I couldn't recommend this conference more. There is great information for first time attendees, a help desk in case you get stuck and each presentation has a way for you to find a mentor on that subject (or be a mentor).
Take a risk and learn something new. It's easy, it's free, and it is what the new culture of the Internet is all about. Or at least it should be about. Remember to send your comments in via the website or e-mail so people can know what you got out of the conference.
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