I must say, I am impressed. Today I witnessed an awesome example of collaboration. In Eustis, Florida, educators from all over the state came together to support each other. From the minute I arrived on the Eustis High School campus, I was greeted by smiling students. (Yes, they were smiling, at school on an early Saturday morning.) Signs clearly told me I was going in the right direction. I entered the cafeteria and was again greeted by even more upbeat teenagers willing to give their time to help educators have a productive day.
A name badge, and check-in were quick and efficient. Goody bags were lined up.
It was clear that this was the first edcamp for Lake County. The concept was explained and people slowly started sharing information. I really liked how they provided a white board and sticky notes for “What I Want to Learn” and “What I Can Share” sections. These sections were then placed on the Day’s Schedule. People were then able to decide what they wanted to learn and where they were going.
For those of you that haven’t experienced an edcamp, let me explain. An edcamp is a different type of professional development. Edcamps are entirely about sharing and collaborating. Teachers come to edcamps looking for fresh ideas. Teachers that have been successful share what has worked for them. It is a give and take. There is no pre-defined schedule of events other than an outline of how many sessions and which room numbers.
It was great to see members of my PLN. Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1) and Kelly Mikesell (@mrsmikesell) greeted me with hugs. There were lots of face-to-face contacts. It was a fun pre-session gathering. There was even some much needed support given and received.
As the sessions were set, it was decided that I would be in the Media Center. The first session I shared was on Twitter and Voxer. Two great tools for collaboration. After that, I shared about #FLedChat (The Florida Educators Chat). At both sessions, there were educators that were eager to connect. We discussed how to find information and why using Social Media was so important. We also discussed why some educators prefer to have separate social media accounts for personal and professional purposes.
After a great lunch that included some app smackdown (check out the twitter storify for the full list). I went back to the Media Center to share about the awesome website ClassDojo. I shared how I used it to gamify the non-graded portion of my classroom. I discovered there were several ClassDojo users in the room. One teacher shared how she sets personal weekly goals with her students. (Brainstorm Idea!)
The last session found me staying in the Media Center. Stephen Veliz (@stephenveliz) shared many wonderful resources he uses to organize his classroom in the cloud. I love the goal he set for himself. He wanted everything on his laptop to also be in the cloud. That way he was never device dependent.
As we wrapped up our day, prizes were handed out. I left with lots of great connections and even more resources than I ever thought possible. I can’t wait to see and grow with my newest #PLN members.