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[K12OSN] NELS - FOSSED conference FAQ's

Answers to all your questions about the conference (and if they aren't
answered...email me and I'll answer them personally!)  :-)  Also, the
Gould session descriptions are posted here:


The document below is also available here:


1.  When is it? 

There are three conferences this year.  The granddaddy of them all is at
Gould Academy in Bethel Maine USA on June 19th - 22nd.  The 19th is an
arrival date...folks begin arriving in the late afternoon of the 19th,
check into the dorms, and get ready to begin the next morning.  The second
one is being held July 8th - 11th at The University of New Hampshire in
Durham, NH USA.  Once again, the 8th is an arrival date with the actual
sessions beginning the morning of the 9th.  The last one will be at
Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. USA on August 5-8.  Arrival is on
the 5th. 

2.  What is it?

Five years ago, David Trask and Derek Dresser were approached about
organizing a professional development opportunity for school technology
folks who wanted to learn more about using Linux and Open Source in
schools.  The first two years, the conference was simply know as the
"Linux conference at Gould".  In 2004, MattOquist replaced Derek as the
co-director of what became the Northeast Linux Symposium.  NELS continued
to grow steadily over the next couple years, offering hands-on sessions,
fantastic keynote speakers, and a chance for folks to spend some quality
time together learning, discussing, and networking.  (Not to mention, the
food at Gould is simply incredible)  In 2006, Matt and David introduced a
"Teacher Track" with sessions designed for the regular classroom teacher. 
The "Teacher Track" was so successful at Gould Academy that it was hastily
implemented (and thus full!) at the inauguralUNH conference in July of
2006.  This success has indicated that Open Source and Linux "has arrived"
and as a result our new name reflects that status.  The Northeast Linux
Symposium is now known as the Free & Open Source Software in Education
Conference (orFOSSED for short).  We will still continue to offer the same
great Linux sessions focusing on the "techie" side of things, but now
we'll also be offering many sessions for the other half of the
"team"....the classroom teachers who'll be using the technology!

3.  Who are the presenters?

That list is currently being finalized, but I can tell you that from years
past and from this year's commitments...we have a great group of
professionals ready to bring the content to life.  Each year, the
conference becomes more well known and this has a tendency to attract some
fantastic presenters.  Another great bonus is that as people attend from
year to year and learn more...they become some of our best presenters in
future years.  One example is Deborah White.  Deb is a classroom teacher
who attended the "Teacher Track", returned to her school and implemented
some of what she learned, and is going to share all of that along with her
experiences!  We look for fun, dynamic presenters who really know their
stuff!  Each year it just gets better and better!

4.  I don't have Linux in my school...how can this benefit me?

There are several ways you can benefit!  If you are a classroom teacher,
the "classroom teacher sessions" are essentially "platform agnostic". 
Much of what you'll learn will be cross-platform or web-based.  Imagine
having a whole suite of applications for your classroom that the kids can
also install at home...regardless of what kind of computer they have! 
That's pretty powerful.  One of our presenters this year is the man who
"wrote the book" (literally...and you'll be getting a copy of it...too) on
Free and Open Source Software for Schools.   Come and learn.  Network with
other teachers who are doing the same thing you are...get some great
ideas...AND getrecertification credits in the process!  (Credits from
USM...will require a small fee for those needing a transcript)

If you are a techie or an IT person...great!  Come and learn how Linux can
make life a lot easier and save you money in the process.  Become more
marketable in the IT world by adding Linux knowledge to your arsenal. 
Learn how you can integrate Linux into your existing network
infrastructure!  Knowledge is power...come get some!

4a.  My school doesn't get out until late in June...I'm not sure I
can/should attend.  (Gould only)

The date of the Gould conference was actually set last summer.  We did
manage to get away from Fathers Day weekend this year.  Unfortunately, we
are unable to have it later in the summer due to the fact that other
organizations and camps will be at Gould at that time.  That being said,
YOU are entitled to professional development!  I have learned over the
years that the folks at school will get along fine in my absence...and if
anything goes wrong....it can wait until I get back.  So don't let that
deter you...come, relax, and learn...everyone will be better off in the
end.  In some cases you may wish to attend theUNH conference instead.

5.  What's included in the price?

Virtually everything!  We want this to be a stress-free learning
experience for you.  We want you to "hang-out" and get to know each other
and really begin those great conversations about technology in your
schools.  Many schools bring "teams" of people from all levels to learn
together.  So...we have included everything.  Rooms (nice dorm rooms that
rival some hotels), Meals (you will be amazed), Snacks and drinks, a wine
and cheese reception, and a fantastic banquet on the second night of the
conference.  All that, plus the actual hands-on learning experience from
an amazing group of presenters.  Join us and forget the rest of the world
as you immerse yourself in technology and learning!

6.  What do I need to bring?

Each year we get better and better at this.  We have eliminated the need
for installations this year, thus leading to more productive learning
time.  (there will be opportunities for installation for those who wish to
do so...and for those who wish to configure their own hardware)  Our
generous sponsors will be providing hardware this year that will allow us
to explore and learn without having to install anything ahead of
time...it'll be all ready for you.  We do recommend that you bring a
laptop.  As you might expect, the entire conference, including the dorm
rooms, is wireless.  You will have access to the Internet as well as our
internal conference network.  If you are a classroom teacher in the
"classroom teacher sessions", bring whatever laptop you wish to
use...especially if you are anMLTI teacher.  As I mentioned above, the
sessions will be cross-platform.  In the tech sessions, you may wish to
bring a machine to play with...or perhaps another laptop that you can use
to "explore" with.  We'll post a list of personal items you should bring a
week or so before the conference.

7.  How do I pay for the conference?

If you are paying out of your company or school budget, then a purchase
order is the most common method.  If you are planning to attend, but do
not have a purchase order yet...no problem.  Please go ahead and register,
and simply send us the purchase order or purchase order number when you
have it.  If you wish you can pay by check...or if you have a
school/company/personal credit card and would like to pay by that method,
register first and then send us an email at copperdoggy gmail com or
dtrask vcsvikings org letting me know that you'd like to pay with a credit
card.  I will then send you a link to a secure server with instructions on
how to make the transaction.  The transaction is actually handled
viaPayPal, but you do not need a PayPal account.  Many folks have used
this method in the past.

For those of you who are ACTEM members (mostly Maine attendees), you can
request up to $400 in professional development funds.  This is a
reimbursement upon completion of the conference.  You would simply pay for
the conference and thenACTEM will reimburse you...and they do it very
quickly...most people have their reimbursement check a week later.  Visit
the professiona development section of the ACTEM web page 
http://www.actem.org/Pages/ACTEM_ProDev/index  for more information.   If
you have any questions please call Dennis Kunces, ACTEM Professional
Development Coordinator at 624-6815 or email him at
dennis kunces maine gov   You do need to apply for the funds ahead of
time...so contact Dennis as soon as you can.  Many people have used this
in the past...it's a great membership benefit.  If you are not anACTEM
member...it's only $10 to join!  Visit the ACTEM web page today at

We're very flexible.  If you are paying yourself and will be getting
reimbursed...we can hold your check up until the date of the conference or
even perhaps a few days after so that you will not be without the money
very long.  Feel free to contact us...we want you to be able to attend and
will work with you to allow that to happen  :-)

8.  Will I be able to get any credits/CEU's?

Yes.  For the past several years we have offered recertification credits. 
Jerry Holt has graciously offered to handle this again this year.  The
credits are offered by the University of Southern Maine (for the Gould
conference....UNH and Gallaudet are still pending).  There is a processing
fee for those who are requesting credits from USM.  This is a fantastic
way to get some needed credits/CEU's and to learn a lot at the same time!

9.  Can I attend any session I want?  Can I attend another conference?

Yes and yes!  The sessions are set up so that you can attend any one you
want.  If you are a techie who would like to attend a "Classroom Teacher
Session" just to learn a little more about what's going on "out
there"....by all means...feel free!  If you are a classroom teacher with a
bit of a geek streak in you and you'd like to attend one of the more
advanced sessions....please do!  Freedom.  Freedom in software, freedom in
learning....that's what we're all about. 

If you'd like to attend another one of our conferences in order to
experience more sessions...you can do that too!  We had several folks last
year who attended both the Maine and New Hampshire conferences.  If you
are a veteran of the Gould Academy conference and feel you'd like to try
one of the others this year....please do.  :-)

10.  Where can I get more information and register?

We have a web site (it's actually a Moodle site) located at
http://www.fossed.com   You can get more info and to register.  If you
have any questions along the way...don't hesitate to ask!  :-)   Hope to
see you this summer!

David N. Trask
Technology Teacher/Director
Vassalboro Community School
dtrask vcsvikings org

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