This past weekend, I traveled to the NCCAT conference center in Cullowhee, North Carolina to experience my first EdCamp (#EdCampWNC). Edcamp is a form of "unconference" designed specifically for teachers and their needs. Unlike traditional conferences which have schedules set months in advance by the people running the conference, Edcamp has an agenda that's created by the participants at the start of the event. The dual purpose of my visit was to experience an EdCamp and to see if I could organize an EdCamp in Central Virginia.
This is what I learned...
As a participant:
1. Have a mindset of being a part of a discussion rather than the center. I can be an impatient person. I also want my views heard. So, learning to listen - truly listen - is a skill I really worked and focused on. My experience was much better for it.
2. Tweet, Tweet, and Retweet!! I LOVED the opportunities to connect with other educators that came from Tweeting this past Saturday. Celebrate the discussion. Quote people. Take pictures. Enjoy the time.
3. Grow your PLN. I truly enjoyed meeting people who will help me grow. I can be introverted (especially before coffee kicks in) and I had to make an effort to introduce myself so I could start a conversation.
4. Be prepared to move without judgment. I've been known to sit through a few conference sessions even though they were not the best fit for me. DO NOT do that here. Move if the session is not what you want or the direction you are interested in.
As a potential organizer of an EdCamp:
1. Organization - SO much of the EdCamp's success occurred before the EdCamp. Big shout out to Darcy Grimes and Jayme Linton. I am taking full advantage of the network of fantastic people available to me. Thanks again for all the people taking time to answer my most mundane questions.
2. Sponsorship - Flipgrid, Symbaloo, Nearpod, EdPuzzle, Piktochart, Simplek12, and more. The more the better. Door prizes, bottles. shirts, gift cards, and subscriptions are needed to show teachers that they are important. Also, don't forget FOOD donations! As an organizer, this is our way of saying thank you for attending.
|@iluvlearning jamming to GoNoodle|
3. Teamwork - I believe it's important to have a mix of tech savvy teammates and veteran EdCamp participants scattered around to help start discussions, motivate, cover tech issues, and help hand out materials/door prizes.
4. Enthusiasm - Two words: Go Noodle! Whatever your enthusiasm is, it has to be genuine. Make it fun.
Hopefully, you will join us in Central VA for a (possible) Spring EdCamp.