Merging K-12 and Higher Education Conferences

Why don’t we see more crossover between higher education and K-12 professional and academic conferences? My feed reader brought me news last week of the upcoming Open Minds Conference: Open Source in K-12 Education:

The Open Minds Conference is the first national K-12 gathering for teachers, technicians and educational leaders to share and explore the benefits of open source in education. Virtual Learning Environments that provide 24X7 access to teaching and learning resources, cutting-edge and easy-to-use desktop applications, coupled with powerful management tools and low-cost computer strategies make the classroom of tomorrow available today!

This would be an interesting conference to attend from a higher education perspective. It’s not just that many of the tools to be discussed there are those that work just as well in a collegiate environment – in fact, most probably got their start in higher education. The real benefit for those in academia will be the insight into how our future clients (students) are using these tools, and how that shapes incoming student expectations, learning styles, and attitudes. I wonder what other K-12 conferences are out there that might provide more of this type of insight.

The presentation list for the K12 Online Conference doesn’t look all that different from the 2007 EDUCAUSE program. I do recall the annual Blackboard conference having k-12 tracks – however what few sessions there were seemed more product specific. Are there K-12 conferences out there with higher education tracks? What about other events that serve both groups?

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