When is foe better than friend? When foe is the tag for the Future of Education unconference held last week. I was on vacation and unable to participate live but the conference attendr.com map clearly illustrates the global-breadth of the unconference attendees. Below is a clip from presenter Jay Cross. Just reading this paragraph should give you the sense that interactivity and conversation are essential elements of this conference. You will not hear or detect any hint of monologue, diatribe, lecture or any other form of lopsided conversations. This isn’t an unloading of acquired knowledge but rather a synthesis and building of something unexpected and new. It’s open and it’s exciting.
The depth of this unconference can fairly be measured by close examination of the international session-leader list, which I invite you to do, and by observing the distinctive leadership style of unconference director, George Siemens of The University of Manitoba in Canada. Thanks to an elearning partnership with Elluminate Live, all of the conference speakers and interactive chat room conversation was captured and is available at the click of your mouse. The best part is that although you may have missed the live sessions, you may participate in real time with followup conversations in the forums.
George Siemens is reaching out to the world. His approach to online learning is the epitome of the connectivist philosophy he espouses. He lives and breathes connectivism and it is contagious.
If you enjoy thinking out of the box and long to be connected to a global educational network, then you really owe it to yourself to listen and learn. I will warn you, however, that the adrenalin rush of experiencing this unconventional open access to knowledge is as whimsical as watching new cloud formations take shape, it may become habit forming! Whether or not you agree with or take issue with some of the revolutionary ideas discussed in The Future of Education unconference, please blog about your thoughts and add to the formation of knowledge.