Last Saturday I attended my very first Edcamp in Ft. Worth, TX. It was amazing to say the least. I found Edcamp on Twitter last fall and was intrigued by the tweets being posted about it. I thought, “This is something I want to be a part of…” So, a few months later I signed up for EdcampFWTX and experienced a day that sparked a great amount of learning energy within me.
Edcamps are different! That’s what makes them so incredibly awesome. When we arrived, we posted topics that we were interested in learning more about (i.e. Google Drive, Edmodo, Twitter). While waiting for everyone to do the same (about 350 of us), we visited with other attendees and enjoyed a free breakfast J. The Edcamp coordinators sorted through all the posted topics and arranged sessions. That is one of the unique things about EdCamp…it is not your mainstream type of conference…in fact they are known as “unconferences” because there is no set agenda prior to the event. Educators do not come to attend a preplanned symposium. The sessions are formed according to what the needs are of the audience.
After selecting our menu for the day (4-one hour in length sessions), we broke out into the first session. Another very interesting detail about Edcamp is there are no prescheduled moderators. Someone in the session volunteers to lead the session. What happens next can only be described as an explosion of collaborative energy between like-minded professionals. It was fast, furious and FUN!
At the end of the day I was full of new hope and determination to get things started right away. My biggest take-away was learning enough to get me started on Google Drive. By the way, for those of you who want to learn more about GD, visit @ansonalexander on Twitter. He has fabulous tutorial videos on his website. I also learned a great deal from @don_jacobs as he moderated our tech for admins session. UNBELIEVABLE!
I cannot express the Power behind these events in a blog, in a tweet or even f2f. You must experience an Edcamp yourself to comprehend the depth of learning that takes place at one of these events. Everyone leaves with so much. For me, I left with more confidence and excitement about the new school year. One very unique observation I made was the positive atmosphere at Edcamp. Educators came together because they simply wanted to be. No negativity or whining around me…just smiles and eager people with a willingness to share. Everyone was there to make a difference in the lives of children. There was so much optimism in the air that it gave me chill bumps.
For those of you who are willing to be adventurous, give Edcamp a shot! After attending one, your inner-pirate will be released. Arrrrgg! Afterwards, you won’t be afraid to teach and lead like a pirate (Check out Dave Burgess’ new book, Teach Like a Pirate).
For my fellow Texans, here is the information for the upcoming Edcamp Dallas:
Ask & Analyze