I am blessed to live in So California and have the availability to attend MANY edcamps during the year.
But yesterday…..well it was the BEST one so far.
I picked up my buddy, Brent Coley, at 6:45 and we headed down to Poway. This time, I was driving (yeah, new car) and we just talked and talked and talked!!
We arrived at the campus and since we were there a few moments early, we had time to explore the campus. Very unique look — penguin theme, lots of positive signs, a colorful garden with a garden trellis celebrating two teachers (both who were named Pam) and then wandered into the auditorium to sign in.
At about 8:10 the edcamp began and what they did at 8:15 has to become a STANDARD for all edcamps (in my humble opinion of course). We merged into small groups to introduce ourselves, share if we had ever been to an edcamp before, and what was something we hoped to learn that day. We had already found out that over 85% attending were newbies to edcamp so this was an EXCELLENT way to break the ice!
The board filled up rather quickly. Brent & I had already decided that we would co-facilitiate a Google Forms group – and I was asked to lead a session on Connecting Classrooms. So, 2 of my 4 sessions were now already determined. Sessions included Subtext, Math, Twitter, Class DoJo, and many others.
So, I wandered into Room 1 and stayed there for the rest of the Edcamp!
The first session was on BYOD.
Our campus is looking at this and my co-worker and I do not see eye-to-eye on this (he wishes to have 1 device, I am okay with any) so it was good to hear the pros/cons of those who had gone before. One of the campuses that shared is a Google School and use ipads — and the 2nd graders are having trouble editing their google docs (good to know). Another campus is using any device and they are having trouble with everyone having similar options (as in apps or software). Another campus is having problems with wifi logons to their network. And my AHA moment came about 10 minutes into the session when someone shared about using EVERNOTE with students instead of DROPBOX!! (need to investigate this more)
What I learned most from this session was: We need to investigate this much much more!
The second session was on Google Forms – (for admin and teachers)
Brent always does a very good job with this and since only 2 teachers had not used Google Forms….he was able to showcase many forms he uses — a classroom observation form, a parent/student form, quick response questions to staff, etc. Participants also shared their forms they use: app evaluations, student observations of presentations using rubric dropdown choice, book reviews, parent/student get acquainted forms, etc. There was a lot of sharing and Brent shared some new options I did not know about — like Section Header — which was my “AHA” for this class!
What I learned most from this session was: yet, once again — my love for Google Forms has grown!
The third session was Early Elementary
This edcamp was filled with elementary teachers (which is not always the norm) so it was very nice to sit down with 6 other teachers (2nd grade and below) and just share ideas, apps, requests for help, and more!
There is a kindred spirit between young elementary teachers and we just talked and talked and talked.
What I learned most from this session was: There was no great “AHA” but just a feeling of contentment of being with like minded people!
The final session was on Connecting Classrooms
I started off the session by sharing a wee bit about Projects By Jen but then jumped right into DOT DAY and Global Read Aloud! I could not remember the website EPals for the longest time, but finally did and also shared about Global School Net. Some people in group had participated in my projects — so they shared a bit and we also talked quite a bit about Mystery Skype. The time flew by — there was a GREAT deal of interest — and I think many will make the effort to connect with another class or classes this next year.
What I learned most from this session was: The excitement of connection. As I walked back to the auditorium, 1 person in the Connecting Classrooms was sharing with someone not there about what she had learned. She just talked and talked and talked. I was so happy I got to hear that.
We ended the edcamp with door prizes — and it was refreshing to see average door prizes (movie tickets, chocolate, lens cleaners, etc). Lots of laughter, lots of smiles, lots of new friends.
I loved — truly LOVED — this edcamp. It was simple! What edcamps used to be…there wasn’t the need to be “bigger and better” — it was just nice. 90ish educators giving up a Saturday morning in July to come together to get ideas to take back to their classrooms. There were no big names, no experts, no powerpoint slide presentations — there were just sincere conversations and sharing.
It was great.
A big thank you to #EDCAMPIGNITE!! Well Done!