Sunday, January 13, 2013

#EdCampLA

On December 11th, Bill Selak, one of the EdCampLA organizers, tweeted out that people should really think about joining him for a day of great learning in January. The conversation to the right occurred:

After talking Cheryl Morris into joining me, EdCampLA was on. The 4am wakeup yesterday morning was tough, but the day was incredibly worth it. Why? Thanks for asking.

Getting to meet members of my PLN in person. I have learned from and with Matt Arguello, Kate Petty, and Jo-Ann Fox on Twitter for a while now. To get to meet them in person was great. It is really nice to get to put actual faces together with Twitter handles and pictures.

Meeting smart, dedicated educators. EdCamps attracts people like this. It is a huge part of why I go to them.

I got to be part of a really neat conversation about flipped classrooms. The idea behind EdCamps sessions is that they are conversations, not presentations. To start this session on flipped classrooms, Cheryl and I introduced ourselves, talked about what we do, and then let the discussion unfold. It was really neat to see the conversation unfold - we covered a lot of ground in 45 minute!

I also attended Stephen Davis’s Teacher Confession session as well and came away really impressed with the idea. Like impressed enough that I think it should become an EdCamp staple, similar to Things That Suck (more on this session later). Stephen explained the germination idea - a hashtag that got batted around on Twitter - and his desire to have teachers to have a place to share their failures and embarrassments in a comfortable environment. The thing was, the environment was was a room full of teachers that I had never met. However, these teachers were EdCampers (folks who will willingly travel for an optional day of PD on a Saturday). The tone of the room was excellent - even though no one in the room knew more than one or two other people, it was a great experience - very refreshing, open and supportive. I’m not sure I could pull off facilitating that discussion - the job Stephen did establishing the right feeling in the room was amazing - but it was definitely a unique and valuable experience.

The last session I attended was the Bill Selak-hosted Things That Suck. A fast-moving place for EdCampers to discuss controversial education topics, Things That Suck never fails to disappoint and this session was no exception.

However, the possible highlight of the day was finally getting to meet Crystal Kirch in person. Having had numerous Twitter and Google+ conversations with Crystal, it was strange to meet her in person - it felt like I already knew her. The power of the internetz... It is always nice to move people off the ‘Internet Friends’ list. Andrew Thomasson, here’s to hoping you’re next.


Thanks for the photo, Kate Petty!

I got back to my apartment 17 hours after I left it. It was a whirlwind day, but so so amazing. A HUGE thanks to the awesome EdCampLA organizing team!