Yesterday I attended my first edcamp (
#edcampsc) in Rock Hill and it was awesome! To me, attending a place with like-minded people is not work, it is fun, so the fact that it was a Saturday didn’t faze me. So what is edcamp? The Edcamp model is a FREE educator-driven unconference format. You do not know what or who will facilitator the sessions, all you know is learning will take place and you can choose your PD sessions. Learn more about edcamp: http://edcamp.org and http://edcamp.wikispaces.com
I loved that for edcampsc two Principals LaToya Dixon and Michael Waiksnis took a risk (neither had attended an edcamp before) and organizing their first EdCamp. There was all types of educators that attended from teachers, to administrators, to Professors.
When we first came in we were sent to the cafeteria for breakfast and session sign up. Chart paper was all over the room divided into three columns, session idea, facilitator and votes. You could add sessions that you were interested in to the paper but it didn’t mean you had to facilitator a session. I added Google Apps for Education, #GAFE, since that is a topic that I wanted to know more about but I didn’t want to facilitate it. I also noticed that Digital Portfolios was a session but had no facilitator. I decided if no one signed up close to the time when we started voting I would do it. After all, I tell people all the time they need to take risk because that is how you learn and I need to also practice what I preach! No one signed up so right before voting, so I put my name down thinking I will watch the first few sessions and learn how this works (remember I have never been to an edcamp before).
We were given stickers to vote on which topics we wanted to narrow the sessions down. We then went to the auditorium where the keynote was being held. (During this time the edcampsc crew were working hard to determine the schedule.) The keynote was Eric Sheninger (very well-known in the Twitter world) who Skyped in for the event. He talked about making the most of the edcamp experience and explained we need to be the educators that help our schools transform into change agents.
After his keynote, the session Google Spreadsheet was revealed and the session on Digital Portfolios was not only chosen but also the first session. That meant, no time for me to learn from the other session facilitators. I went to the room and made a circle so we could collaborate better. The room started filling up fast and soon we had no more desks so people started sitting on the floor and standing all around.
The session went well. I started off the conversation by talking about what I know about Digital Portfolios (see previous post) and then it took off from there with everyone participating, sharing ideas, asking questions etc. I took a risk and I learned a lot from facilitating the session and was able to get some of my questions answered along with sparking new ideas such as, how can we make student portfolio’s standardized but without hindering the creativity and we want student’s to show mastery but that wont look the same, so how do we know it is true mastery from one school to the next? Great questions to have leaving a session and to continue to think and talk about.
The in-between the sessions were just as valuable because you were able to network and build your PLN. You also got to meet many of your virtual PLN face two face. Like this picture below with @cbeyerle, @TrippsGOL and @GChamplinAP (Along with so many others, too many to add to the post)
The second session I attended was Augmented Reality with Karen Ogen. This session Karen presented apps, software and ideas that you can use in the classroom. Her presentation is here, AR, filled with lots of resources.
During lunch was a great time to eat and collaborate. (I do need to give a shout out to Newks for an awesome free lunch, thank you!) During this time it was great to discuss what other schools were doing and also talk to people from my own district to discuss about how we can help the transformation of our schools.
The last session I attended was, collaboration and connecting students around the world through tech integration with Stacy Lovdahl. During this session we shared resources, discussed ways to collaborate and some of the pitfalls in global collaboration such as timezones. A backchannel was created in todays meet with all the resources that we shared, here.
It was hard to choose just one session but thankfully for social media, other session review blog posts and back channels helped me be able to ‘attend’ all sessions. Here are some of the resources:
#edcampsc Google Hangout Video
Over, all I got to meet and learn from a lot of passionate educators including one of my virtual BFF Alison Reichert. Now just imagine if we did this model in the classroom! I think it would be awesome!
Thank you to everyone that made #edcampsc a success! I look forward to the next one!