Monday, May 14, 2012

#EdCampMKE Reflection: Connections

I love the way that EdCamps work.  For those that haven’t attended an one before, an EdCamp is an Unconference where there are no set presentations. The attendees put their ideas on a Post-It, stick it to a schedule board, and then everyone goes to what interests them.  With no formal presentations, most sessions turn into roundtable discussions.  You can learn what other districts are doing, the problems they’ve faced and conquered, and challenge your thinking. The best part is that you are in charge of your own learning.  If the session you are in doesn’t meet your needs, get up and leave; find what is interesting to you.  If the discussion needs to continue past the scheduled hour, there is a free room for you to do that.  Topics can also develop during the day as one did with Apple TV. I was able to choose, and that’s powerful.

My goal with #EdCampMKE was to make connections. Teachers, Administrators, Professors, Librarians, and all the others who attended want to share their experiences and hear what others have to say.  I have expanded my Professional Learning Network (PLN)  who I can go to for advice and problem solving. These connections are the greatest benefit of attending an EdCamp. After I attended #EdCampChicago in May 2011, I had the start of an excellent network. I was able to develop more professional relationships and learn from these individuals on a daily basis through what they Tweeted.  These connections are what I find most valuable from EdCamp.

Connections are not only made face to face.  Sitting in the Commons during the Smackdown, individuals not even at the EdCamp were adding resources along with those that were in other sessions.  I had conversations over Twitter with those that were following along virtually. See the collected resources on the EdCampMKE Blog. Through social networking, the learning can continue!

To give educators the opportunity to come for free (including breakfast and lunch) to share and learn new ideas is priceless.  Thank you to the very generous sponsors; organizers Chad Kafka and Tammy Lind;  and all of the volunteers that made one very powerful day of learning.   

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