Monday, November 27, 2006

Online global collaboration warm and fuzzy

What I loved about the K12 Online Conference recently was getting to know the personalities and in many cases being able to put a face to a name. Today a warm and fuzzy thank you e-card came from Lani to all presenters from Darren, Sheryl and Wes (conference organisers). Along with the card came a link to a video "Thank you to K12Online06 Presenters". I am sharing this video here. One of my pictures is in it! The one with David Warlick on a computer screen...taken while sitting at my desk at work as I watched his keynote!

Being one of the presenters and 'When Night Falls' final Skypecast conveners/moderators I would like to add my thanks to the organisers and participants in the K12 Online Conference. It was a great experience! As a graduate from a Masters degree a while ago that was purely by distance education and one that demanded very regular online collaboration I am aware of and support the intrinsic benefits of this type of communication and connecting of like-minded individuals. The sociability and interactivity of online learning environments has been documented and fact I even wrote an academic paper about it in 2003 called "Online Learning Community".
Here is the abstract of the paper:
"In the quest for viable options for online tuition the development of an asynchronous environment that fosters interaction and a sense of community learning has become a preferred method. Modern computer technology has made possible a new and rich learning experience. The foundation of an online learning community lies in constructivist principles and emphasises the exchange of information and ideas so that the individual can grow as can the community. Of the many factors involved in making this structure work, particular emphasis can be put onto the need for social interaction, technology systems that are designed to respond to the needs of the students and a learning environment that is motivating and engaging."

You will notice I have bolded one sentence that sticks out from the rest..' that the individual can grow as can the community.' I particularly like the idea of us growing together through our interaction and collaboration and the thought that we are less isolated, less vunerable, wiser and more confident as a group than as individuals.

I am continuing to find new challenges as I work through the K12 Online Conference presentations and feel a real warm and fuzzy today thinking that I was priveleged to be part of this online event.

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