With the advent of new communication technologies, it's now possible for educators to participate in professional development by virtually following conference events. While face to face interactions are still important and clearly aren't going away, people can virtually be in several places at once. This occurred last week as Illinois Computing Educators held its annual conference in St. Charles, Illinois, and simultaneously, the National Association of Independent Schools conference took place in nearby Chicago. For some educators, this presented a conundrum of which conference to attend, particularly because keynote presentations at each conference were great draws. Fortunately, through the use of blogs, wikis, streaming video and Twitter, people were able to get a flavor of each conference. And, records created by these tools are still available for virtual and real attendees to revisit as they try to absorb the plethora of information that came out of each event.
I think this is the future of conferences and it is to the benefit of organizations to plot their social media strategy. I personally am more likely to attend a conference in person after getting a taste online and, if people will be physically present that I've added to my personal learning network via these aforementioned tools. Social media is not be an alternative to a conference; the use of such tools helps disseminate important information and spotlights an organization. In this open source, long-tailed world, this is the way to go.
This week's Friday 5 is more like a Friday 9; take a look at some of the material that came out of the ICE and NAIS conferences. Dig around and you might find some useful links and food for thought!
1) ICE web site
2) ICE conference ning
3) ICE conference wiki
Within this great wiki maintained by Scott Weidig and Luke Allen, you can find streaming video archives of keynote sessions as well as presenter handouts.
4) ICE conference twitterstream
5) NAIS Web Site
6) NAIS bloggers
KaTrina Wentzel http://blogs.moundsparkacademy.org/nais2009/
Jonathan Martin http://21k12blog.net/
Michael Obel-Omia http://publiusrex.wordpress.com/
7) Sarah Hanawald's liveblogging of the NAIS conference
Sarah used CoverItLive to liveblog for her colleagues back home.
8) NAIS twitterstream
9) Independent School Educators' Network
Another great online community in which educators can connect. A great deal can be learned from the private school sector and vice versa!