This weekend I attended my first Edcamp, Edcamp WNC. A crowd of educators(not sure of the number- at least 100+) showed up on a Saturday at 8:00 am to learn. The venue was NCCAT in Cullowhee, an amazing facility for educators nestled in the beautiful North Carolina mountains. I am familiar with the area since my daughter attended nearby WCU, but knew nothing about the NCCAT facility. They offer all types of seminars throughout the year and host a couple of Edcamps each year. You can check out the upcoming seminar offerings here.
We had a fun icebreaker activity which involved using paper, foil, or duct tape to create an object that doesn't already exist. Our group designed instant recognition glasses with duct tape. We used communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. These are the skills we want to teach our students. And we also had fun; that's what will engage our students.
At Edcamps the sessions are not predetermined. We used Dotstorming to plan the sessions based on what folks wanted to learn or share. I can see definite application of this tool in the school setting and hope to give it a try soon. Sessions were voted on and we had an opportunity to attend three 1-hour sessions of our choice. It was "me-centered." I chose what I wanted to learn about and was given the option to use the rule of "two feet" if I found myself in a session that wasn't what I thought it was going to be. (I didn't have to use this option.)
The sessions I attended included open ended, purposeful conversations. Everyone had the opportunity to contribute based on their comfort level. Relevant information was shared, solutions and ideas were offered, relationships were built, and we laughed. Our learning was personalized... plearning!
Breakfast and lunch were provided and we had a "smackdown" at the end to share resources with the crowd. When the site that I tried to share was uncooperative the crowd was still supportive. I always have a Plan B. My Plan B was...sit down and learn some more from someone else.
There was swag and great door prizes! I walked away with some cool buttons, a pen, a folder, a Symbaloo t-shirt, and knowledge. I also reconnected with an old friend and made some connections with new friends.
Look for my next blog entry with some ideas to help you have a positive Edcamp Experience and the date of the next Edcampwnc.