Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to experience what seems to be the buzz on Twitter and beyond, the idea of the “EdCamp”. I walked in with the expectation that I’d be learning about technology, have the opportunity to meet some others on Twitter whom I’ve communicated with now for a while, and I’d have the chance see how this whole idea worked.
Needless to say, this was an awesome conference! Not sure how these run, but we started out with an introduction by John Carver, superintendent of the Howard-Winneshiek school district (@johnccarver). If you’ve not followed John on Twitter, stop reading and go do it now! This is a “rockstar” (his word, not mine) of education, and he has the vision and drive to create a system that will benefit all learners. Many of his staff that I talked with that day have bought into what John has said, creating a tremendous atmosphere there!
Anyway, we had sticky notes, and if we had a topic of interest, we posted it. With that list of topics, we talked through what might be done in those groups, and on the Google Doc for the day, we refreshed, and there was our schedule, bam! As I tweeted, a conference with our learning in mind, that’s a crazy idea! 🙂
From then, it was about the learning! I attended a session on building PLN (personal learning networks) where we got someone signed up for Twitter right there, a session on a technology integration matrix ( the two mentioned are from Arizona and Flordia http://tinyurl.com/AZmatrix, http://tinyurl.com/floridamatrix), and we had ourselves a Web 2.0/App smack down where tools were discussed in two minutes or less. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all the prizes that were given away at the end: iPad cases, smart pens, subscriptions to various websites, iPad keyboards, a sweet RCA EZ cam (which I got!). And to top it off, it was all free! Learning at our level, of things we wanted to discuss, with teachers willing to give up a Saturday to do this, and cool stuff too?? Sign me up for the next one!
The best part of this, all the people I got to “meet”, people I’d followed on Twitter for some time now! I mentioned John, but there are several other great Iowa educators who deserve your follow:
Leigh Zeitz (@zeitz) – one of my first follows on Twitter, an instructional technology professor, and a dynamic presenter Update: Check out his blog at http://drzreflects.com/
Chris Rogne (@coachrogne) – soon to be principal
Kelly Moellers – (@kmoellers33) – signed up in our PLN session
Micki Hartwig – (@iowabookchick) – so positive about her own learning
Sue Daker – (@SJDaker) – AEA School Improvement Director, great to finally meet her
Brenda Knobloch – (@bkknobloch) – Such passion for education and students
Heather Suckow – (@heathersuckow) – Attended the edcamp in Madison to help with the creation of this one
Shirley Sovereign – (@ssovprincipal) – Principal of the elementary, we’d crossed paths in another training put on by AEA
Denise Shekleton – (@dshekleton) – Another familiar face online
Deb Day – (@mrsday75) – Speech coach extraordinaire Check out her blog and her own reflection of this day at: http://deb-day.blogspot.com/2013/03/18-of-31-learning-and-sharing.html
And that’s it! This was truly a wonderful experience being among teacher leaders who wanted to learn more about how their teaching could improve. I couldn’t have been introduced to edcamps in a better way! My only hope: another one close by comes along soon! 🙂