Monday, April 21, 2014

EdCamp YYC

Today I had the fabulous opportunity to attend EdCampYYC.

What is Ed Camp? I first learned about this idea on the Nerdy Book Club blog

(Watch the video)

Then people started blogging about what a great experience it was:

This link is especially good. She has a link to notes from all the sessions:

So, when it came up in Calgary I decided I had to check it out.

Here are some bog posts about the camp last year:

This is the website for the Calgary Ed camp that happened today:

I attended four workshops: 
1. Blogging in the classroom.
2. Genius hour
3. Building Literacy
4. Motivating at risk students

Blogging in the classroom was run by someone who has done a little bit of blogging, but wouldn't really call herself an expert. And that was okay! It was good to hear of someone's experience that wasn't taking the blogging world by storm - because I am a far cry from taking the blogging world by storm too! Everyone in the room participated in the group discussion. We asked questions. Some had answers for our questions. And some questions just brought up more questions. 

My take away: I am not sure I am going to move away from the Edmodo platform anytime soon. It is a safe environment and it allows for students to get the experience of communicating more publicly, but on a smaller scale. One person said his greatest success "blogging" on the Edmodo platform came when there were posts about things that were coming up, rather than things that had already happened. He posts messages about special guests or field trips and invites students to watch videos and read about upcoming learning activities. Hey can also have time to come up with good questions. This is something I will definitely try to do more of!

Genius Hour was very inspiring. It is an idea of the company Google. They allow their employees to use  a certain percentage of their time working on projects of personal interest. I can't remember if it is 10 or 20%. The idea fascinated me! Some schools do this with their teachers. Every other early dismissal has some time allocated to Genius Hour. The lady who facilitated the group does it with her students every Friday. It seems like a very authentic way to learn. The interesting thing is it isn't graded. At the end the students do a style video to explain their project, what they learned, hurdles they had, and how they overcame them. Fabulous!!

Building Literacy was also good. The interesting thing was I learned the most from the other FFCA teacher in the workshop. She shared that she does a program called Something Five (can't remember now!) I need to read up on that. Seems very interesting.

The last hour I hoped to go to an ipad workshop. However, no one showed up to facilitate it. There were about six of us sitting in there. After about 10 minutes we decided we ought to find something different. I guess that is one of the hazards when you have a structure like EdCamp. 

I went and found something different. The workshop I went into wasn't what I thought it was - but I felt weird leaving. So I just stayed. There were a number of teachers all from the same school in Calgary. It is a real high needs area and so their issues are very unique, and quite difficult. It isn't the world I live in at all. Maybe my take away could just be that I sure am lucky to work where I work!

They had divided the participants into two groups. In the other group I noticed someone who looked a lot like Trina Hurdman, a trustee for CBE.  Later, on Twitter, I found out it was her! I really hadn't given another thought except that, "gee, sure looks like Trina Hurdman". I have connected with her on a Facebook and twitter over different issues. I would say she is a bit of an online friend. Too bad I didn't clue in that that really was her! It would have been great to talk with her.

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