Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Edcamp is EduAWESOME!

EdCampCV North

Edcamps are popping up everywhere! And with good reason too! Edcamps are designed to "promote organic, participant-driven professional development for K-12 educators worldwide". 

With the economy the way it has been, educators everywhere are looking for affordable professional development. What is better than free?! According to Edcamp.org, edcamps are:
  • free
  • non-commercial and conducted with a vendor-free presence
  • hosted by any organization interested in furthering the edcamp mission
  • made up of sessions that are determined on the day of the event
  • events where anyone who attends can be a presenter
  • reliant on the “law of two feet” that encourages participants to find a session that meets their needs

With the use of Twitter, I discovered Edcamps from my amazing Professional Learning Network (PLN) and signed up for my my first one in Le Grand, California. It was set up by Alison Lopez (@alopezAG), Robert Osak (@misterosak), Matthew Schwartz (@mschwartz23), and more. We were greeted at the door, given a goodie bag, and then it began! We, the participants began writing our concerns, interests, and topics on sticky-notes. These notes were then turned into our workshop sessions.

I think one of the best parts of EdCamp (other than the amazing collaboration) is that sessions are very casual. If you go to one session, and it turns out it isn't for you, or you want to make sure you see another, you can up and go! There is not "weirdness" or hurt feelings. All the sessions are lead by the participants and understand that you need to go where the professional development is and suits your needs. 

So I went to each my workshops. Not only did I get amazing information from amazing teachers, but we got to share insights, best practices, problems, success, and discover that there are incredible educators and leaders right in our neighborhood. The camaraderie and the friendships gained is invaluable. 

I even got to see how I should use Idea Paint  to fix my past blunder

So what is next? I stay in contact with these amazing educators on Twitter, follow @EdCampCV and @Edcamp and go to the next Edcamp in San Francisco! I hope to see you there!

Monday, May 6, 2013

The New way to PD

I love Twitter. LOVE it. I have been on Twitter since 2009 and have had a pretty steady relationship since. Twitter is quick, exciting, and always has the information, entertainment, and connections I need.

More recently, however, I have discovered the value in professional development (PD) on Twitter. 


I cannot express enough my love for PD on Twitter! Educators on Twitter are so full of resources, love for pedagogy, curriculum expertise, and (more importantly) willing to share, learn, motivate, encourage, and build connections beyond just one chat.

There are SO many educational chats on Twitter. So many in fact, that I had to create a calendar full of reminders, times, and dates just to keep them all straight! Chat's I love include: #CaEdchat, #smartee, #tlap, #geniushour, #gr8teacher, #DENchat, #gctchat. These chats have extraordinary educators sharing their expertise and yet learning right along with you. I have gained so much knowledge that I could out immediately into my own classroom. And it's growing! PD on Twitter is so popular that most of these chats "trend" each night.

For example, Genius Hour. Genius Hour is a fabulous idea that developed from the great minds of Google (see my blog post here). I had never heard of genius hour until I was in the #CaEdchat and the wonderful expertise of  Joy Kerr (@JoyKerr) John Stevens (@jstevens009), and many, many others! I was so inspired  that I did more research at http://geniushour.wikispaces.com/http://www.geniushour.com/, and http://www.ckesler.com/category/passion-project/. Once I had more information, I just had to try it out! So, I made a SMART Notebook lesson. All this with an hour of my time collaborating in real time with educators with a passion for teaching!

PD on Twitter has made me a better teacher, student, and Pirate (Teach like a Pirate, HIGHLY recommended). Get connected! Get involved! Get some professional development!