|Connect with me here!|
Well there you have it ... the first every EdCamp for the Langley School District is in the books. And what an amazing day it was. When the team came up with the idea of bringing this growing form of professional development to our district in the valley, we hoped that 50 - 70 educators would give up a Saturday (and a sunny one to boot) to talk about how to make schools better. Instead, we ended up with over 150 people from all facets of "the school system" come together to learn, share and connect with each other. And as I take a minute to reflect back on the build-up to EdCamp35 and the day itself, here are some of the things that resonated most with me (in no particular):
1. ALL stakeholders are passionate about education: At EdCamp35, we had so many different perspectives represented in the conversations going on. There were the expected groups of educators present - teachers, support staff, and administrators. But there were the other crucial voices to the conversation given a voice during these important dialogues. We were lucky to have many students and parents contribute while the key ears of District Leaders and Trustees were there to listen. It really enforced the notion that it will take all of us to revolutionize education in the way necessary.
2. Conversations Trump Presentations: One of the staples of an EdCamp is the notion that sessions are built around conversations as oppose to "stand and deliver" presentations. And on Saturday, the format allowed for many different ideas and perspectives to be heard. The sessions I attended allowed students to tell us what they really thought about teachers using social media (hint...it's not what you'd think) or how complicated the idea of moving away from formal letter grades is from community to community. These kinds of rich dialogues are just harder to attain in traditional professional development workshops/conferences.
3. The Power of Twitter in Building Deeper Professional Relationships: I had always thought this was true at some level, but had it brought right into my consciousness at EdCamp35. It was Christine Younghusband that helped me realize that the professional dialogues I have with my PLN (Professional Learning Network) on Twitter lets me get to know them on a certain level without having met them face-to-face. And then at an event like EdCamp35 when I do get to meet them in person, I find it much easier to take that professional relationship even deeper, much more quickly. And as a result, the connecting, sharing and subsequent learning is so much more beneficial.
4. Education is Complex and Exciting: At EdCamp35, I found myself fully immersed in some deep conversations about very complex issues. And while at times, the problems we were attempting to address were overwhelming, all I felt was excitement about the challenge of making learning as powerful for students as possible. For example, the discussion about an alternative to letter grades was almost too much to tackle. But as I listened to what other districts were sharing, along with our own, I was energized by the possibility of something more effective in truly enhancing learning and communication in the reporting of learning. And this was only one example. Whether it was navigating social media in schools, digital citizenship or just debating "things that suck," I was excited about tackling the complexity that is school.
5. T.E.A.M. - Together Everyone Achieves More: I was lucky enough to be a part of the organization team that help make EdCamp35 a reality. And it was very clear that it required a true team to put this awesome day together. Working with such amazing people and inspiring educators confirmed my belief in the idea of synergy. I can't thank Chris Wejr, Magdy Ghobrial, Ngaire Leaf, Nick Ubel, Katherine Mulski and Victoria Olson enough for making the journey so tremendously fulfilling and incredibly fun.
I want to sincerely thank everyone for coming to EdCamp35. It sounds cliche, but it is not a success unless the people who are there make it a success. We are excited to already be thinking about next year's EdCamp35 and look forward to seeing more of you at other EdCamps around the province. Please continue the conversation by checking out our website, www.edcamp35.com