Monday, December 26, 2011

Global Virtual Meetings in Gifted Education





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 Bavarian Center 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.

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 3PM EST/9 PM CEST (Germany). The invited speaker is Matt Dickensen (UK). He is Equalities and Achievement Director with London Gifted & Talented, leading the 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 National Academy for Gifted & Talented Youth (NAGTY).

Now take a look at this lineup!
- February 25th 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!


1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for kind words and support this event! :)
    Looking forward to see your avatar in the next Global Virtual Meeting for Gifted Education soon!
    Best wishes from Germany,
    Roya

    ReplyDelete