I often hear parents and teachers lament the fact that there aren’t enough hours in a day or going to lectures and conventions are just too expensive; and they are right! However, these experiences can make the journey for the parent of an intellectually gifted child so much easier … an elixir for the age-old complaint ~ “if I had known then what I know now”. For teachers of high-ability students, professional development can make the difference between a mediocre teacher and a highly regarded teacher who understands the nature and potential of their students.
In a world of tough economic times and shrinking school budgets, there is a bright spot in the world of gifted education. Those who are willing to give up
ONE HOUR a month to
attend an online conference will have the benefit of not only listening to
world renown keynote speakers, but also be able to ask them questions
one-on-one as well as meet new friends and colleagues in a global setting. Did
I mention that it is totally FREE and you never have to leave your house (think
carbon footprint, scruffy jeans, beverage of choice at hand)? Did I mention it
is for only one hour a month? (Okay, I did mention that.) And the best part ~
you can sit next to ME!
How is this all possible you may ask? Roya Klingner, head and founder of the
for Gifted and Talented Children, had the incredible foresight to start
building a conference center in Second Life years ago in preparation for these
conferences. In Roya’s own words, “The purpose of the conference is to
cultivate a global virtual meeting, sharing knowledge and experience about
gifted education for students, educators, teachers and parents.” The first
meeting was held in August, 2010. Bavarian Center
Have I piqued your interest yet? Well, take a look at this video produced by Roya to see past speakers at her conferences.
So, exactly what is Second Life? From their education brochure, “Linden Labs was founded in 1999 by Philip Rosedale to create a revolutionary new form of shared online experiences known as Second Life. … Second Life is the leading 3D virtual world filled with user-created content and immersive experiences.” The actual program launched in 2003 with a free client program called the Viewer which enables its users, called Residents, to interact with each other through avatars. For more information, see here.
To see the full list of academic organizations currently using Second Life … including the University of Texas, University of Warwick, Tasmanian Polytechnic, Oxford University Computing Services, University of New England, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Penn State World Campus, Texas A & M, Stockholm School of Economics, and Rutgers University … click here. Because residents are free to choose their activities in Second Life including those which are non-educational, it is open only to people 18 years of age and older.
Ready to get started? The first step is to join Second Life and create an avatar here. To participate in the meeting, you will need a headset. A microphone is optional as you may communicate via keyboard if you prefer. About 10 minutes before the conference is to begin, click here. This link will take you directly to the building where the meetings are held; usually on the roof. It may be helpful to go earlier in the week to acclimate yourself to Second Life and get comfortable navigating there.
The next "Global Virtual Meeting for Gifted Education in Second Life" will be held January 28th 2012 at EST/9 PM CEST (Germany). The invited speaker is Matt Dickensen (UK). He is Equalities and Achievement Director with
Gifted & Talented, leading the London REAL
Project (Realizing Equality and Achievement for Learners) the first systematic
attempt to improve the quality of G&T education for pupils from black and
minority ethnic backgrounds and those learning English as an additional
language (EAL). Prior to joining LGT, he taught for twelve years and was also Assistant
Director of Teaching & Learning at the for Gifted & Talented Youth (NAGTY). National
Now take a look at this lineup!
2012...Josh Shaine ( ) USA
March 24th 2012...Prof.
Dr. Ernst Hany ( ) Germany
April 21th 2012...Cindy
Sheets ( ) USA
May 26th 2012...Prof.
Dr. Françoys Gagné ( ) Canada
Roya Klingner is a brilliant, international advocate and speaker in the gifted community. Her dedication to gifted children is unsurpassed. She has tirelessly worked to put together the Second Life conferences. I have seen many articles about these conferences, but rarely see the authors show up at them. Not only have I attended practically every conference, I promise to save a seat for YOU! No excuses!