This weekend I attended EdCampAwesome in Royse City. I got up at 4:00 in the morning...YAWN...and headed out with two of my friends and co-workers. We were so excited and anxious about our first edcamp experience. We couldn't wait to get there and find out what edcamps are all about.
When we got there, the atmosphere was so exciting! People were smiling, music was playing, and the organizers were working hard to make sure that everything was running smoothly. I knew immediately that this was going to be a fun day of learning and collaboration.
At the end of the day, I had learned so much and here are my takeaways from my very first edcamp experience...
1) I'm not alone. Edcamps give you an opportunity to collaborate with like-minded educators. Sometimes it's hard not to feel alone when trying new things and sticking your neck out for a change in education. At edcamp, you are surrounded by educators that are doing the same thing and loving every minute of it!
2) Excitement is contagious. Edcamps are a great place to find renewed passion and energy. I was reminded this weekend of why I do what I do. I realized that there are so many teachers wanting to try new things, giving their students new opportunities, and wanting to learn new ways to provide meaningful learning in their classrooms. It gave me a fresh passion for sharing and blogging in an effort to teach and learn from other other educators.
3) Twitter brings us together. Twitter connects educators and gives us the best opportunity to learn from other. As I sat in the sessions, met new people, and followed them on Twitter, I was reminded of how easy it is to collaborate and learn from others using Twitter. In all of the sessions, the facilitators were people that I already followed on Twitter, and it was great to meet them and learn from them in an edcamp setting.
After the Genius Hour session, I chatted with Heather Russell. We quickly realized that we were already connected on Twitter and shared a passion for Genius Hour. After a short discussion, we decided to find a way to connect our student blogs in an effort to encourage collaboration.
4) We need an edcamp in our area. After attending the How to Start an EdCamp session, I realized that we could easily organize an edcamp in our area. I was so excited to learn details and get advice from Stuart Burtand Zach Snow on how to effectively plan an edcamp. They shared some wonderful ideas.
After this session, I was asking a few questions and met Kari Espin. She teaches at a school just a few miles down the road from me and was interested in started an edcamp in our area as well. We connected on Twitter, talked about a few ideas, and decided we could do this! I'm so excited and can't wait to bring the edcamp magic to the educators in our district.
5) Education is where it's at! Teaching is not for everyone. It's hard sometimes and frustrating. It's easy to feel like we are fighting a losing battle and that things will never change. However, things are changing. Teachers are doing amazing things and our students are being given opportunities to change the world. But we have to keep sharing, learning, and being passionate about what we do. In doing so, we have an opportunity to impact others and give our students the education that they deserve.
6) I work with some some amazing educators. After attending edcamp with my friends and coworkers, we were able to have lots of discussion about our classrooms and what we learned. I was so encouraged by the things that they do in their classrooms and the amazing ideas that they have about engaging students. It was fun to see them excited about what we had learned and we had so much fun sharing, laughing, and learning with and from each other.
Finally, I want to thank the amazing organizers and session facilitators of EdCampAwesome! Jaime Donallydid a great job with the AR session. She gave us so many opportunities to experience augmented reality and how it can be used in the classroom. Heather Russell shared her passion for Genius Hour and why our students deserve an opportunity to explore their passions by doing. Zach Snow and Stuart Burt are just awesome! They shared their vision and experiences in planning EdCampAwesome. Their passion for innovative education is evident and such an inspiration for us all.
I had such a great time and look forward to attending many more edcamps in the future. If you have not been to an edcamp, what are you waiting for? Find an edcamp near you on the Edcamp Wiki and get there