Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My First Edcamp

This past Saturday I attended my first edcamp. Our system's technology coordinator was one of the organizers. He tried to explain to us what this "unconference" would look like, but I think it might be impossible to really understand an edcamp until you've experienced one for yourself.

In the main meeting room a whiteboard was partitioned into rooms/time slots. Post-it notes were on a table in front of the whiteboard. If you had something you wanted to share or a problem you wanted to discuss, you wrote it on a post-it note and picked a room/time.

The Session Board

Topics included project-based learning, using Twitter in the classroom, Google Classroom, Kahoot!, and many others. Two teachers from my school introduced some of us to Adobe Voice. As sessions would meet and it became clear attendees wanted or needed more discussion about something else, another session would form. It was a neat process to watch.

Friends and colleagues sharing Adobe Voice

Michael had suggested I pick a slot for discussing the flipped classroom, so I did.  He assured me I needed no prepared presentation. He advised me to just share how I had flipped my classroom and how it was working for me.  I had no idea what to expect, but a room-full of people were interested in talking about the flipped classroom. After I shared "my story," teachers asked questions or shared their own experiences. We were having a great time and had to be told that the next session was waiting to enter the room. :)

Drawing for door prizes (I sure did want that Apple TV!)

Edcamp was a great PD experience.  It was FAST. It was FUN (even if I didn't win a door prize). There was a lot of information given and lots of things I want to explore deeper, but I really didn't find it overwhelming. My brain was not hurting like it sometimes has after a day of teacher-learning.

Most of all, the day was ENERGIZING. It was great to be with teachers who wanted to be there, talking about issues they wanted to talk about. I got to see former students now changing the lives of their own students. I got to meet pre-service teachers wanting to learn everything they can from current teachers. I made new connections (yea, Twitter!). Being able to share how and why I flipped my classroom reignited my passion for it.

I was reminded of how much we teachers need each other to be the best teachers we can be.

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