Monday, March 18, 2013

#18 of 31 Learning and Sharing

As I wrote on Saturday, our district hosted an edcamp. It was a day of learning, sharing and laughing.  I was so glad to be a part of it.

An edcamp is often described as an "unconference". There are no scheduled presenters, no scheduled topics, no handouts.

So what happens?

Once all participants arrive, they are asked to think about what they want to learn about or what they want to share with others. They write their ideas down on post it notes (well, at least that's how we did it) and share their ideas with the others. Notes are gathered and a schedule is created (I wish I had taken pictures! What was I thinking?).  

Here's the link to the schedule that was created for ours. As we went through the day, someone in each session created a google doc. That's what the hyperlinks are...the notes from each session.  Cool, huh?

And then off we went.

People went to the sessions that interested them. If it wasn't what they wanted, or if they wanted to also get to another one, they left and went somewhere else. The conversations in the sessions I attended were fantastic. Real teachers (PreK-college) and administrators sharing the work they love with each other. Great connections were made. (I got to meet several in my PLN. Got to love Twitter! And by the way, here's a blog reflection from one of them. Darin's a great guy to follow on Twitter also). 

The digital lesson planning session was a great conversation in what works for each of us. I talked about and how I am using it with my freshmen. A student teacher shared her lesson planning/portfolio creating in Evernote (my summer plan is to explore this more. I only use it to keep track of websites I find). Others shared how they used Google or websites for this. Takeaway--most of us are digital. It's just finding what works the best for us.

I wish I had known when I went to the Language Arts session that no one was taking notes because I would have. There was lots of discussion on the use of technology in the classroom. I think my mantra in every session Saturday was "Technology is only a tool for delivery, not the curriculum). Some were overwhelmed and didn't know where to begin. Advice was always, "Baby steps. Find one thing to try and do it."  I think the thing to remember in this new way of teaching is that there will be failure. There will be ugly moments. But teaching is messy. Teaching is chaotic. But you have to start somewhere!

I learned about LOTS of great new apps. Some in the session about ipad "stuff" and many more in the App Smackdown before lunch. Be sure and check out some of the links. There's some great apps out there.

All in all, it was a great day. I have so many ideas to try, new tech to check out. This conference will keep me energized for awhile.  I encourage you to go to an edcamp if there is one in your area. I keep seeing people tweet them out, so I know they're out there.


  1. Wow! I just spent about 15 minutes exploring your link for the edcamp. There are a lot of good resources there. Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. Yes, EdCamp Howard-Winn was a great experience. Got to learn about what was happening in your district as well as others from around the state.

    I enjoyed meeting you, Deb. Hope to see you again in the near future - virtually or in-person.


  3. What a great reflection, Deb! You've captured what day was all about in a great description here. And I agree, it was wonderful to meet so many members of my PLN, yourself included!

    I cannot wait to see how the Howard-Winn staff tops this Edcamp, but my guess is you'll make it look easy again! :)

  4. Wow, I will definitely explore Deb. I wish our retreat in the fall could be like this. I know even in our small school that we would love it. What an amazing idea. Thank you for telling more!

  5. Deb, it sounds like you will be very busy over spring break, summer.... Lots of good things to learn and share. Glad your edcamp was a success.

  6. Deb, it sounds like you learned a lot at #edcamp. There are so many collaborative conversations at an EdCamp. As you know I attended an EdCamp a few weeks ago and had a similar experience. I found the format to be engaging. It somehow seemed more personalized than a typical PD event. I like the way it utilizes the expertise of everyone --- we are smarter together philosophy. Everyone shared what they knew, where they were in the journey, and what they were hoping to accomplish. I'd would attend another EdCamp in a second, and it sounds like you would too.