Saturday, Febuary 13, I finally had a chance to take part in the “largest” Edcamp in the country, #edcampIowa.  There were five locations around the state where 500+ teacher took their Saturday to go and learn in an environment tailored around their needs.  For me, I ended up at the Northeast site, put on by Dan Butler (@danbutler).We had roughly 80 passionate educators there, ready to learn!

I’m still kind of a rookie, this being my fourth edcamp (and my first in Iowa), but we had the typical tech tools kinds of discussions had, but I saw some different topics this year. We had topics about instructional coaches and their relationships with both administration and with teachers. As more schools launch their TLC grants, these relationships will become more and more important in the culture of a school district. There were sessions on blended learning, how this could be done with teachers and administrators.  Professional development has started to become a hot topic with the idea of individualized PD popping up again and again. I listened in on a session where administrators expressed their positives and negatives in their own districts.

Other topics were out there from RtI to assessment to Google Classroom. All in all, this was a very successful time where teachers leaders stood out again and again, sharing what they do in the classroom, asking questions, and just digging deeper into the profession. One of my great takeaways, the time I got to spend with teachers from our district. I rode down to Western Dubuque with my principal, not knowing if anyone else from our elementary, middle school, or high school would be there. We had two instructional coaches and three teachers from the high school who were there when we walked in, so being able to spend time with people who are currently teaching my kids was great!  I also had the change to meet another PLN member, Rachel Scholze (@rsscholze), who as it turns out, when to high school with my wife Melissa (@mharveyjohnston). It’s a small world, especially in the social media world.

You can find our agenda and some notes here.

Would I recommend an Edcamp to a teacher? Absolutely!  Saturday’s PD, along with the other Edcamps I’ve attended are some of the best PD days I’ve ever experienced. To be with a group of people who aren’t there because of a directive or payment, but whose reward is simply the knowledge gained, that is priceless. There were many new people in the Edcamp process on Saturday, and I hope they walked away feeling good about the day.  I know I did! 🙂

A thank you needs to be said to the above mentioned Dan Bulter and the staff at West Dubuque! It was a great day of learning, but the volunteers behind the scenes help to make this run.  Your hard work in setting everything up is greatly appreciated!