Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fired up for Education - An #edcampGB Reflection

After attending my second edcamp, I find myself even more in love with the concept and excited to attend the next one!

If you haven't been or heard of edcamps before, they are free professional development opportunities that have no set schedule. The participants actually build the schedule with ideas of things they would like to learn about or lead on.  It is almost magical how things come together, but it almost always turns out awesome. Today was no different!

For the first time, I was involved on the back end, planning and preparing for the event. It was also incredibly exciting for this to be held at Denmark High School, a place I get to work with students and enjoy being. Probably the most amazing part was that one third of the participants were from Denmark School District. Rock on!!

Personally, I felt like this was really a chance for me to really get networking and assert myself.  Naturally, I consider myself introverted and typically shy away from any social situation that could result in awkwardness (aka all of them).  But as an educator, risk-taker, optimist, and someone who really wants what is best for students, I knew this was my opportunity to stand out and show that I have things to share that can help teachers help students.

The two sessions I was lucky enough to lead were on screencasting and Teach Like a Pirate, two things that have probably defined my career to this point, meaning they've made me the teacher I am.  I loved being able to show a group of teachers the magic and ease of making lessons online for students, opening up a world of possibilities for flipped classrooms, differentiation, and online/blended learning.

My favorite session was the #tlap session.  I am still infatuated with this book even though it has been over 6 months since I read it.  Dave Burgess is an amazing man and provides so many good ideas for improving engagement that I have a tough time NOT sharing about it. Thankfully, I had some great folks, such as Ben Brazeau (@braz74) and Ashley Goral (@agoteach), in there to help me out when my memory was a little fuzzy. It was fun being able to challenge everyone with "if your students didn't have to be there, would you be teaching to an empty room?" The best part may be that this was one of the most popular sessions of the day. It makes me feel good that so many educators really want to be invigorated and provide the best possible experiences for students. As an added bonus, Dave Burgess replied to our tweets, and gave away some pirate swag to our group!

Edcampgb, I will remember you fondly.  This is an amazing profession and these days show just how awesome us teachers are.

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