Yep, you heard me right. I got up at 5:45 (which is WAY earlier than a school day), drove my kids 30 minutes to my mom’s house, then drove about 40 minutes in the other direction to go to school on a Saturday. And it was all by choice.
EdCampStl was the reason. What’s EdCamp? Well, it’s honestly just a bunch of teachers who all gather at a school together on a Saturday to learn together, and what that learning is is not decided until we all arrive. Sessions are planned on the fly, based on what people know and what they want to know. You’re encouraged to sit in on as many sessions as you can, moving from one to another if it doesn’t end up meeting your needs. For more about what your brain looks like on EdCamp, check out Krissy Venosdales’ blog where she wrote about it this weekend.
I attended my first EdCamp last year, and this was even more fabulous! Last time I went alone, which was a little bit daunting, because I am not the most outgoing person. I had a fine time, but didn’t really talk to anybody or make any new connections. I did learn more about using social media in the classroom, but didn’t really take away anything I could implement right away.
This time, I was really excited to be able to finally meet some of my online “friends” in person, putting a real face to the avatar I’ve been looking at for the last year! This was better than I even anticipated, and will make the connection we share online even stronger. I attended some pretty great sessions, too, where I learned about a new iPad app, how to use Google forms in the classroom, more about collaborative groups and had a discussion about the impact of ELA Common Core on what we do in our day-to-day teaching lives.
For me, it was the conversations that made this year different. We’ve been talking alot about PLNs lately, and I definitely have some pretty fabulous people in mine. Being able to sit in the same room as them and share ideas was a little bit surreal. Kinda like nerd heaven, really. And the best part was that since we’re connected on Twitter (which is where I learned about the whole EdCamp experience in the first place), we could keep the conversation going even after the day was over. Our learning continues beyond the conference, which is not always something that happens.
I feel really lucky to be a part of a PLN of some really smart, risk-taking, innovative educators from whom I learn something new every time I log on (which is pretty much every day!). I can truly say that without them, I would not be the teacher I am today. 🙂
Are you a member of a PLN? Why do you like it? What do you learn from your PLN? Have you been to EdCamp? Tell me about it!