Conference 2.0 is a natural product of the digital revolution and its impact on teaching/learning and on professional development. With the rise of alternative online learning and of personal learning environments within school and university settings, new models continue to emerge in education.
Similar to professional learning communities (PLCs), where professionals work collaboratively within a particular work environment or field, Conference 2.0 is a professional development and growth community that extends beyond the one work environment and the one school to a larger community to share with and learn from other schools and educational professionals and leaders.
While the traditional Conference 1.0 views the purpose of the conference is to transfer knowledge from the learned elite to the relatively untrained, within a structure of keynote speakers, panels and presentations, Conference 2.0 focuses on the sharing of a vast body of knowledge and wide experience brought to the conference by attendees eager to discuss sweeping changes and pressing issues, and learn from peers. Through interaction, the purpose of the Conference 2.0 is a meaningful experience that provides a trusting environment for the long-term professional development.
In Conference 2.0, there are a few or no presentations, and no program or schedule of activities ahead of the conference day. Attendees determine the topics to be discussed at the event in small groups where there is no distinction between a speaker and a learner. Everyone actively contributes to the session which may well be a workshop. Sessions are not long in order to provide face-to-face networking opportunities.
The new model of conferences will prove its advantages. Successful Conference 2.0 will require a shift in the leadership role from leader-centered to shared leadership, a must in the near future for education. Conference 2.0 is gaining a great deal of acceptance and popularity among professionals in all fields, especially in the field of education.
As an educational leader, are you ready to lead the shift?