"The smartest person in the room, is the room." ~ David Weinberger
This past weekend I attended my third EdCamp and it was another A+ experience. Every EdCamp that I've been to has had different strengths and takeaways that have moved my learning forward. EdCamp Waterloo was no different. Below is a reflection of my day in Waterloo and what I learned.
It's always great to share a day of learning with friends. Saturday was no exception as a number of the EdCamp London organizing committee decided to make the hour long drive to Waterloo, not just for the day of learning but to gather more information and ideas for our own EdCamp which will be held in April. It's also great to make personal connections with those in your PLN. The first person from my PLN that I saw and had a great conversation with was Mark Carbone, the CIO from Waterloo. I immediately complimented him on all his work promoting edtech in the Waterloo board. It was refreshing to see a board support both the Windows and Mac platforms. All schools in Waterloo have an iMac lab that can log into the Windows platform as well as at least 1 iPad lab that is managed using Apple Configurator and a Mac Mini at each school. I can only dream! :-)
Other members of my PLN that I had the pleasure of meeting in person were Peter Skillen, Evelyn Giannopoulos and Anglea Mercier. As I said to Peter after the conference one of the best things about attending and EdCamp is re-connecting in person with those you value from your PLN. So if I haven't said it lately, thank you so much to my PLN for pushing my thinking.
The 4 sessions I attended were Twitter as a PD tool, Google Hangouts, Tech Tools for the classroom and Maker Culture in Education. Each had a lively discussion with a variety of voices sharing their thoughts and ideas. From my experience at EdCamps one danger that can creep into the sessions is with someone that takes over the discussion. Thankfully that didn't happen. I can honestly say I learned something from each session. From the Twitter session I learned that there is the potential to use Hootsuite at staff meetings with scheduled questions or activities for the staff. Great idea! At the Google Hangout session I learned about some great Google Communities where teachers can connect with other classrooms around the world to extend their classroom. Although I thought I had a pretty good handle on tech tools I learned about Educreations for the iPad. Similar to Explain Everything it has an online community where creations can be shared and viewed. Finally the Maker session had my head spinning. I learned about Little Bits and what it can bring to the classroom. What a fantastic program to engage students in making stuff! I am certainly going to look into Little Bits in more detail.
Overall EdCamp Waterloo was a huge success. The organizing committee should be proud of the day and everything they did to make it happen. Our EdCamp committee learned a lot from them which will help us to provide a wonderful day of learning and networking on April 12th. So if you have the itch to attend EdCamp London register today, less than 100 spots are left.
P.S. The lunch was amazing! A+++