Attending an EdCamp
You might have heard that a hashtag changed my life. That same exact hashtag likewise introduced me to EdCamps!
Would you believe that social media can actually be good for you? I have learned new things about educational technology and teaching art since I found my PLN (Professional Learning Network) on Twitter. Since I dove into learning on social media five years ago, I have become a better teacher. I have always been a lifetime learner and a risk taker, now I also learn online.
The first big risk I took in November 2013 was driving an hour away to my first EdCamp, EdCampNYC. It was posted on Twitter by a teacher I hadn’t actually met yet. I really wouldn’t know anyone there, it was on a Saturday morning, driving into the city isn’t fun for me… good gracious, what the heck was I thinking? Well, I had such a great experience, I went to EdCampNJ two weeks later. That was a two hour drive at the crack of dawn, but totally worth it after all.
Then, as I was tweeting with two of my local Twitter colleagues, we realized there was no local EdCamp in Southwest Connecticut. We do have fabulous EdCampCT in August and terrific EdCampRSD6 in July. Both are an hour drive away. As leaders we knew we had to bring this experience closer to home so that local colleagues could have the type of learning that we were experiencing because we were willing to travel.
We planned our entire EdCamp using Voxer, Google Docs and Google Hangouts. We did not actually meet face to face until the morning when we set up for the first EdCampSWCT. Our experiences at various EdCamps and the book The EdCamp Model helped us get ready for the big day.
All in all, it was a success! We had over 120 educators and students as well as parents attend! It was a great turnout and everyone was thrilled to learn with and from each other. Many people drove two to three hours to be there. Hmm, that sounds really familiar…
Attending EdCamps turned me into an EdCamp organizer! Want to attend one? Here’s the link to the EdCamp Foundation. Scroll to the bottom for upcoming EdCamps. I bet there is one in your area!
Running School PD EdCamp Style
Could the EdCamp model can work at your school? I am fortunate to teach in a district where I am encouraged to learn, lead and help others. We have had some faculty meetings where teachers can choose what they want to learn, EdCamp style. Attending is still mandatory, but we have a choice of which session we attend.
How can we improve PD for ourselves, as teachers? Do teachers really need “mandatory” training, or can they choose what they need? What’s your opinion about teachers teaching colleagues what they know?
Let’s start the conversation below.
Amy Traggianese is an elementary visual arts educator and has been an art essentialist at a Connecticut Higher Order Thinking (HOT) School since 2001. A former kindergarten and first grade teacher, she has 30 years of arts integration experience. Amy specializes in integrating language arts, math, science and technology into the art curriculum. She presents at local and national conferences. Amy is an active educator voice on Facebook and Twitter, loves a good Twitter chat, and connects with other educators through social media.