Sunday, April 1, 2007

FOSSED 2007 (Free and Open Source Software in Education Conference)

The FOSSED Conference for 2007 is open for registrations. (Free and Open Source Software in Education) It used to be called NELS (North East Linux Symposium). This is a much more descriptive title.

The conference was originally for those techie types. However, a few of those techies were actually classroom teachers in disguise. They quickly realized that teachers were an essential element for the successful adoption of Free and Open Source software. Consequently, they added a teacher track to their original Maine symposium. It was such a success that they quickly added a teacher track day to their New Hampshire symposium. This year, with the new and improved title, will have 3 locations-Gould Academy in Bethel Maine, June 19 -22, 2007, UNH in Durham, New Hampshire, July 8-11, and Gallaudet College in Washington, D.C., August 5-8 2007. This expansion demonstrates that the organizers, David Trask and Matt Oquist are amazing folks!

This conference should be a mandatory event for at least one classroom teacher in every school. The sheer amount of knowledge and skills and contacts that an attendee walks away with makes this an investment in the success of technology integration in classrooms. I attended last year and was impressed with presenters who were willing to share not only during defined sessions but also after hours in the dining hall, in the hallways, in the dorms, and in the local pubs. It was a 24/7 learning experience. It also changed how I use technology in my classroom. Instead of using it for mere drill and practice or publishing or beginning research, I know look at how technology can enhance everyday lessons, improve home/school/community communication, motivate and engage learners, broaden and deepen learning experiences, facilitate differentiation, in short, help me a much more effective classroom teacher. It also gave me some tools for talking with techie types as well as provided me with some perspective on the techie jobs.

Check out this conference! Come to this conference!
See you at this conference!

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