Many of you have asked "What is a Virtual Conference?"
Most of you have never attended one before, and this is the first such
conference which TERC has hosted.
A virtual conference is similar in many respects to a traditional one.
It is a time for interchange of ideas, talking and networking with colleagues,
and sharing and learning from other projects engaged in similar work. There
are also a few critical differences. You don't have to fly anywhere or keep
to a pre-set agenda. There is no jet lag, and no hotel bills. You can get on-line,
anytime of day or night and read what your colleagues have said and communicate with
them. If you are on-line at the same time as other colleagues, you can send
them an instant message and have an immediate conversation. Most of
the conference, however, is asynchronous which means that you can leave
comments, queries and replies and they will be answered when your colleagues
Like a traditional conference, we have a keynote speaker. Larry Cuban, Professor
of Education, from Stanford University will be presenting a paper written especially
for this conference entitled "Answering Tough Questions on Sustainability." Unlike
a traditional conference you will not be able to hear him deliver his whole speech,
but rather you can print it or read it from the screen at your convenience. Larry
Cuban has provided a two minute audio introduction so that you can hear him a little
After reading the Keynote, please come to the Discussion area of the conference.
Here, Larry Cuban will be moderating a discussion that will follow on from his
Keynote remarks. This is also similar in many ways to a discussion that might take place in a traditional
conference. One advantage that a virtual discussion offers is that you can read and post
at any time of day. Some people find that they prefer writing a comment or query to asking
it in front of an audience. We have invited our discussants Jeanne Century from EDC, Chris
Dede from Harvard and Dean Fink from OISE to join in the dialogue and to share their
perspectives. Most important, we encourage you to join in, and let your voice be heard.
As this discussion will continue over a one week period it will be important to log in
regularly so that you can follow the discussion as it unfolds.
One of the most important parts of any conference is learning from and with our colleagues.
We have created an interactive Poster Hall in order to facilitate this type of interaction.
Twenty veteran LSC projects that are near the end of their NSF funding cycle share the lessons
they have learned about sustainability. They have each created a poster where they discuss
what they thought sustainability should look like, what the reality is, suggestions for
projects starting out, or what they would have done differently, and questions for the community.
You can communicate with the presenters and with other participants who visit each poster.
We have two panels as well. Our panelist are from the LSC community: Mark St. John, Mike Klentschy,
Linda Gregg, and Ramesh Gangolli. Ramesh and Linda are addressing issues pertaining to teacher
leadership. Mark St. John and Mike Klentschy share reflections of sustainability and issue of
funding. You can leave questions of comments for the panelists and you can sign up for a follow-on
discussion on these topics that will take place in the Fall.
Our Discussants, Jeanne Century, Chris Dede, Larry Cuban and Dean Fink will share their reflections
with us as the week progresses. You can read these in the Discussant's Reflect area of the site.
The resources section provides some additional resources suggested by our panelists and discussants.
Feel free to visit the Instant Message Center at the conference. You can send and receive messages from
other participants who are on-line at the same time as you.
Don't forget to send us Feedback by visiting the Info Center. We want to hear and learn about your
experience participating in this virtual conference! Let us know how it feels similar, better or
worse than a traditional one. This is our first time hosting such an event and we will be learning with you.
This Conference is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (ESI0088027).
All comments, papers, and remarks represent opinions of the participants and are not necessarily shared by the Foundation.