Friday, September 14, 2007

Every Classroom a Global Communication Centre

I am in Qatar this weekend catching up on blogging about my new life while others, including many of my blogging colleagues are at the Learning 2.0 conference in Shanghai. I just caught this line from Kim Cofino, "Every classroom should be a global communication centre", by Alan November, while checking my Twitter, also Kim has this as a message on her GMail tag, so I saw it in two places! Kim is sitting in a discussion with Alan, I presume, and is twittering and communicating with the world as she is there. (BTW Kim, I loved your recent post on being a 21st century literacy specialist)

This is conference style 2.0, or as others have called it, including one of the main presenters, the wonderful Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach from 21st Century Collaborative, the 'Unconference'.

As Sheryl says on her blog today:

"What Does Unconference Mean?

Alvin Toffler
said, "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." Unlearning is at the heart of unconferences. They are about pushing the boundaries, coming out of our comfort zones and getting use to the unexpected. Realizing it is not business as usual, but business as unusual and that it is O-K-.

Unconference is a term that basically means customizable or organic in design. It is emergent in design. The conversation is facilitated to go in the direction that participants feel it should go. Presenters and attendees share equal responsibility in making the session a success."

I am so impressed with what Jeff Utecht and colleagues from the Shanghai American School and the wider Shanghai community have done to put on this conference. For a start they have not mentioned 'technology' in the title, they are focussing on the learning. There is very much an unconference aim and a setup that is inclusive of non-attendees. For a start there is a comprehensive website (OK, but other conferences have these I hear you say), there is a social networking Ning, (OK, that's a little more on the cutting edge), and there is a Twitter account that you can follow, while Jeff has also set up a TwitterCamp on site for participants to follow (have I lost you yet??). There is also a conference Flickr group and a hitchikr page for all feeds learn2cn07 and learn2cn.

Who is attending? Well, amongst others Will Richardson, Alan November, Gary Stager, Jamie McKenzie, Chris Smith, Wes Fryer and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach.

Here are links to the main strands of discussions and presentations at the conference.

Leadership | Podcasting | Education 2.0 | Social Networks

Digital Tools | Visual Media | Literacy

I urge you to follow this event over the next few days. It is going to be big in terms of ideas and passion about new modes of learning. I wish I was there, however I can get the feel and follow the action from here in Qatar because of the tools that are being employed to network and share. This truly is an amazing world we live in!

And yes, I firmly agree with Alan, every classroom should be a global communication yours???

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Anonymous said...

I could have twittered/tweeted (which one is the correct verb here?) almost every single line that Alan said in his sessions. I was having trouble trying to ensure that I picked only a few, so as not to entirely dominate the learn2cn twitter feed...

I definitely think the difference with this conference were the unconference sessions and the Ning. As a participant I really feel like I have an opportunity to contribute something to the physical and virtual conference participants. Sharing session notes in a central place, opening up forums about our unconference sessions and twittering favorite quotes really made the conference personal to me.

You always hear people say, "you get out of a conference whatever you put into it" and I think for this particular style of conference that really rings true. Now I'm just hoping that everyone continues to share and communicate using those tools - especially those participants that had never heard of them before the conference - it seems like the perfect way to keep the momentum going!

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