K12Online conference has been running last week and will continue next week as well. From their website -- " The K-12 Online Conference invites participation from educators around the world interested in innovative ways Web 2.0 tools and technologies can be used to improve learning. This FREE conference is run by volunteers and open to everyone. " Yes you read that right -- Free and open to everyone. In this case "everyone" includes me -- a parent.
I'm not sure if parents were who they had in mind when thought about "everyone" but as I've participated in the Fireside Chat and other live events I have felt very welcome and not as out of place as I thought I might. The more presentations that I viewed the more strongly I felt that more parents should be attending. AAhh I hear the collective groan of parents out there -- "I don't want to become a teacher -- that's what they are paid for". But, as someone recently reminded me, as parents we are our children's first and lifelong teachers.
I haven't had a chance to listen to all the fantastic presentations but here are a few that I feel will particularly appeal to parents.
Free tools for universal design for learning in literacy (Jennifer Kraft) -- This is really a must see for all parents but for those of you with struggling readers or special needs it is especially important. The title sounds daunting, I know, but the presentation is easy to follow and has great resources that you can use at home to help with literacy from pre-readers all the way through. Laurie Fowlers presentation then moves on to other ways to help students become better readers.
The Google Gamut -- Everything you need to get Started (Kern Kelley) -- Over the past 18 months Google's suite of products has completely changed the way I utilize the internet. Kern gives a great overview of how to get started with your own google account. The possibilities for parents using google are endless I would highly reccomend checking this out.
I like Delicious Things -- An Introduction to Tagging and Folksonomies (Chris Betcher) -- Do you have a digital mountain of pictures? A bookmark file that you can no longer find the right bookmark in? This presentation speaks to one of the most daunting tasks of parents -- organization. Everything in a place and a place for everthing. If you have ever wondered about the value and utility of creating tags for your pictures, your resources or even your life, look no further!
Well that is enough to get you started, but I'm sure after that brief introduction you will be looking for more. I already have my mp3 player loaded with "What did you do in School today.." and "Web 2.0 tools to Amplify Elementary Students Creativity and Initiative" for lunch break tomorrow.
The K12online conference provides a rare opportunity for teachers and parents to learn together on equal footing. This shared knowledge has the capacity to strengthen the parent-teacher relationship and facilitate meaningful discussions about solutions to some of the difficulties that are faced in our schools every day. So grab some pizza and beer, parents and teachers and have fun viewing a few of the presentations. You'll be glad you did ...