Thursday, October 18, 2012

Learn. Share. Remix. Joining the K12 Online Conference

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us… Your playing small does not serve the world.”  -- Marianne Williamson

I am so excited to be a part of the K12 Online Conference this year. The theme this year is Learn, Share, Remix with four substrands: Getting Started, Visioning New Curriculum, Kicking It Up a Notch and Student Voices. I am thrilled to be sharing stories about Authentic Voices as part of the Student Voices strand.

If you haven’t participated or “attended” the K12 Online Conference before, you are in for a treat. Everyday for two weeks at 1pm (GMT) four video presentations are launched. Each video needs to be under 20 minutes and related the the conference strand. There are a number of different presenters hitting on topics as varied as Immersive Gaming, Social Media, involving parents and delivering professional development.

For my presentation, the hardest part was choosing which voices from Authentic Voices to share. For me, every post on the wikispace has a story to tell. I remember each student: how they responded to recording their work and publishing it, what was happening in their lives and how writing became a successful moment in their learning day.  But I forced myself to choose just four pieces that seem to represent the breadth of writing on the site and highlight different powerful aspects of the project. I hope my listeners enjoy the selections I play.

In addition to sharing student voices, I wanted to emphasize three themes:
  1. Recording leads to revision
  2. Authentic audiences help writers bloom
  3. Finding collaborators is challenging but worth the effort
I believe these are the heart of this project and can be applied to a number of different kinds of projects across subject areas, ages and classrooms with differing access to technology.  If you tune in, please leave me a comment and let me know what you learned, what questions you have, and what ideas you have to improve the site.

After watching the keynote address by Kevin Honeycutt I was both inspired and completely intimidated. His video captured enthused students building an Apollo 13 museum interspersed with his poignant and passionate appeals to make education engaging, powerful and meaningful. I was scratching down quotes during the whole video and more than once rewatched a segment to make sure I captured his points. If you haven’t watched it yet, here it is, watch it. And then follow him on Twitter and get further inspired.

With the same breath that felt inspiration from Kevin Honeycutt, I felt desperation about my own presentation. I realized that my video would be posted as part of the same conference! What did I think I was doing? While I am passionate about Authentic Voices and the experience it provided for students I work with, my work is no where near the same level as what Kevin Honeycutt has done. What’s worse is that the video itself is certainly amateurish and basic (just installed Camtasia days before!). How will I hold up? Should I withdraw? Plea for another week to edit my presentation?

Then I remembered, part of Kevin’s message is that we have to keep trying. We have to keep putting ourselves out there. It is time to not just consume the ideas of others but to contribute to the movement of making educational technology part of school reform. My project might be small and my presentation might lack finesse, but keeping it to myself does not serve my students well or serve anyone well. Which brings me back to the opening quote by Marianne Williamson,

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us… Your playing small does not serve the world.”

So, I am repeating this quote to myself and breathing deeply.

I am excited to be a part of something big and not over-thinking my own contribution.

I am thankful to be included and not second guessing whether or not I’m worthy.

And I am joining the conversation.

Learn. Share. Remix.

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