After my quick leap into the world of eduTwitter, I immediately started to join in on #NoVAedchat on Wednesdays at 8 PM and make some local Twitter friends. Sam (@ThatsWightman) is the moderator and does such a great job coming up with relevant and engaging topics for the chat! Through #NoVAedchat, I saw mention of #edcampNoVA and started to get interested in the #edcamp philosophy. I thank all of my Twitter friends for introducing me to the idea, because I met some amazing people and had a BLAST!
I started off with these connections a couple weeks ago when I met Sam and Sarah (@sarahdateechur) for lunch on President's Day. We talked over margs and quesadillas, watching Sam's adorable son play and exchanging ideas about getting teachers at our schools engaged with Twitter, working with iPads in the classroom, and, most importantly, what to expect at #edcampNoVA. I was grateful to meet some of my PLN connections and to get pumped about the event!
So of course the snow that we've been having in our area postponed the date, but I was able to work it out and go last Saturday. I walked into Rock Ridge High School knowing almost nothing about what I was about to experience, and luckily found the meeting place easily. I sat down at a table of strangers, struck up a conversation, and, weirdly, it was not awkward. It was a small group because of the snow, but it was almost better for my first experience. We all contributed ideas for the day's sessions and a schedule was created:
Each session had a link to a Google Doc where we could all collectively take notes, which was especially awesome if you were not able to go to all sessions that you wanted to- you could just read the notes later! I went to the PD, Photography, and Social Media sessions and had some great conversations. I also gained some awesome new ideas for my classroom. Here are just a few of them:
1) When talking about PD, we discussed that we all agreed that teacher choice was important. I love that my county is already trying to embrace this concept, but as I know it is far from the "norm," I understand that it is still in the early stages. During #APSchats this past Tuesday, some teachers mentioned that they would really enjoy PD like this, so that we can learn from each other about how to implement our newest Digital Learning Initiative (1:1 iPads).
2) Nutshell- a new app by Prezi that allows you to capture 3 images, add text, add effects, then publish is as your thoughts about something in a "nutshell." I am still exploring ways that this could be used with my students, but I created my first one this week highlighting my MIOSM displays. See it here!
3) Link posted about how to use Instagram in the classroom. I love these ideas because, though my staff is trying to get into Twitter, the kids are ALL about Instagram (I feel old because I don't really see the point, but then I'm not 10 years old, so why would I?) See those ideas here!
If you would like to see more of the incredible conversations that we had, please feel free to look at our notes using the links in the schedule: #edcampNoVA schedule.
Now that I've experienced my first #edcamp, I can't wait to go to more! My next one will be #edcampArlington on March 21st at Washington-Lee High School, and I hope that some of my nearby colleagues can join me! Thanks to all my #edcampNoVA friends who made last Saturday such a fun experience!