Note: I wrote most of this a few weeks after the EdCamp. It is now more than two months later. I definitely need to subscribe to the habit of writing a post in one sitting and posting it right away.
I have been distracted from writing this for a couple of weeks now and I just need to pound it out and get it done or I won’t ever get to it. Because as Kevin Brookhouser said in his book The 20 Time Project:
When I went to EdCamp East Bay earlier this month it was my first EdCamp. I went only vaguely knowing what I was letting myself in for. Earlier this year I went to a Google for Education Summit put on by EdTechTeam (@edtechteam) and it rocked my socks off. Because of the Summit I became active on Twitter as an educator (@mcarlingoldberg) and I noticed that many of the educators who I follow who are excited about learning new things and improving their practice were talking about going to EdCampEB. I looked into it and found that while a GAFE Summit is most definitely a conference, EdCamps were an un-conference and this intrigued me.
EdCamp is a free conference where educators decide on the day of the conference what the discussion sessions would be. Anyone could suggest a topic and everyone would vote on which they would like to have a discussion. It is often touted as an “un-conferecence”. I definitely loved having a say in what we talked about. For that matter every topic I suggested was picked as a session (others also suggested the same topics too). It was actually a conundrum when I had to pick between two of the sessions I suggested as they were scheduled in the same time slot.
Note: everything written before this was the first sitting. Everything after is from the second sitting. One sitting and post has to be my new habit. A post shouldn’t sit in drafts for two months.
I had a great time making connections at EdCamp. I think the opportunity to chat with complete strangers feeling safe in the fact that everyone there was an educator who was coding to give up their Saturday and were likely of a similar mindset. During breaks and over lunch I had great conversations about Bullet Journaling, and making connections at events. Most of those connections have continued over Twitter through conversations and sharing of resources.
I also got the great opportunity to meet up with several Twitter acquaintences face to face. I had the chance to chat with Mark Loundy (@), Craig Yien (@), and some of the #Hyperdocs crew Lisa Highfill (@), Sarah Landis ( @), Kelly Hilton (@), and Karly Moura (@). It was really a pleasure to meet them face to face after having interacted over Twitter. The genuine enthusiasm everyone showed when we managed to stick a face to the Twitter handle was just awesome!
Personalized PD – PD To Fit My Needs
What I really liked about EdCamp besides its energy was that it is all about educators having the time and space to talk about what matters to us in a relaxed atmosphere. I got to have really great conversations about topics that were important to me and self direct my learning.
One of the best parts of EdCamp is that after the day is over all of the shared notes from the different sessions are shared so that you can refer back to them and also take a look at the information from the sessions that you didn’t attend. Take a look at EdCamp East Bay’s Schedule.
Two sessions that I attended really stood out. The first was the Hyperdocs session (Notes) which was packed and included all three authors of The Hyperdocs Handbook. Talking with everyone about what a Hyperdoc is (a pedagogically strong way of thinking and designing lessons) and isn’t (a set of strict instructions or formats that you have to follow). The second was Engaging Staff In Change (Notes) a session on a topic that I suggested because I wanted to connect with others around the challenges in being a Tech TOSA and engaging teachers in accepting technology into their teaching in a strong, pedagogically sound way. There were only six of us in the session but we all came away with the support of a group of like minded educators who were having similar struggles. We also came away with a bunch of ideas, tools, and strategies to use in engaging our staff in positive change.
I would definitely recommend an EdCamp to any educator who is looking for a little support or a little inspiration for their teaching. It was a mellow, laid back experience with lots of great givaways and prizes. It was worth the hour drive from Petaluma to Concord to participate, and that says a lot.
And remember, DONE is better than PERFECT. Always, every time. Because done allows you to learn and grow and build on what you have completed. Perfect can’t be reached and if it is your goal it may very well prevent done from happening.