In a few weeks, the air will start to get a little cooler, the days will get a little shorter, pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING will be available, and best of all, the bodies of our students will be sitting in our classroom desks waiting to see what is in store for them this year.
Edcamp is that kind of exciting learning experience, but for teachers. Until edcampRCAN runs in October, I would like to use this space to allow those of us helping to organize the event to share with you what makes edcamps special for us and what we think you might enjoy about it.
I attended my first edcamp in November of last year. I had wanted to participate for several years, but whenever the thought crossed my mind, I couldn't find an event in my area. This was now my chance. I was very nervous, not knowing what to expect, but I was hoping that at least somewhere on that schedule board I would find a session on makerspaces, robotics, or engineering. I was lucky enough to find several in those areas, plus a makerspace to actually visit!
For that particular edcamp I attended, almost each session I sat in on became standing room only. There were so many wonderful things to see and the facilitators were so engaging that I didn't want to leave when the session was over. One particular session on makerspaces became just a really big discussion amongst all the attendees in the room and I took over 6 pages of notes from that one hour alone! Some facilitators ran the session that way, like a discussion, and others had presentations or handouts prepared, as they knew ahead of time that they wanted sign up to lead a session on a particular topic.
The second edcamp I attended was last April or May. I traveled or met up with three others and we all had different interests and reasons to be there. We ALL found very exciting things being discussed and shared. I continued to stick with my tech sessions which included robotics and 3d printers, but others learned about fun apps, ways to get the students to learn by moving around the classroom, or how to engage students in virtual learning. The schedule is created based on what the attendees want to be a part of, so jump right in sign up to facilitate!
I love that when I visited my second edcamp, I recognized several faces right away from having attended my first one. The camaraderie was wonderful, and networking can really happen within these spaces. You will sign up so many people to your twitter feed you won't be able to catch up. And the great thing is that these are going to be like-minded people who understand how important education is and want to do nothing but share what succeeds in their schools!
You may have noticed that our list of sponsors is starting off strong. We are still several months off from our event and yet you can see the faith these people and companies have in teachers and the experience they have of learning from each other.
So far, our sponsors include Alice Keeling who provided us with signed copies of her book "50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom" and Google Cardboard devices.
We also have iBallz, a great "protector of tech devices" that comes in more than one size.
Amazon has provided a gift certificate which I know you would all love to win!
ABCmouse, our latest sponsor, has provided us with 2 gift packs of music, books, and a backpack.
Thanks to all sponsors so far, because teachers cannot do all they can do without the support of their communities behind them.
After much thought, discussion, and planning, we have decided to roll our our new baby, edcamp RCAN! We will be meeting at Union Catholic High School (1600 Martine Ave, Scotch Plains NJ, 07076) on October 22, 2016 from 8 am to 1 pm. Keep checking back to the site for information.
Having attended edcamps in the past, we know that this is a great way for educators to learn from each other, network, or share their extensive knowledge. An edcamp is a wonderful place to come with questions and concerns as when you have so many people with similar interests, we can definitely help each other succeed and improve.
We hope that if you have experienced edcamps before that you will come join us and help make the day a success. If you have never participated in an edcamp, we hope that you will decide to try it out and see what wonderful things you can experience. This is definitely NOT your typical conference.