Thursday, August 20, 2015


I enjoy going to conferences. It's great to connect with Facebook and Twitter friends and learn something new or be reminded of something you've forgotten about. In the past I've attended NYSCATE, ISTE and Podstock. I enjoyed them all! But now that I'm not teaching in the classroom or the computer lab I find it harder to justify the expense of attending a conference. Last year I heard about EdcampNEPA but it was the same weekend as The Ride for Missing Children so no conference. This year Edcamp was held a month earlier so I signed up and tried to get a few coworkers to attend with me. None of them were able to go so I went alone. EdcampNEPA was perfect, just a three hour drive from home, it ran from 8:30-1:00, it's free and they even had food for breakfast and lunch. With the help of Hotwire it only cost me gas, dinner, and a cheap hotel rate. I can afford that.

Edcamps are not the typical conference. It's about conversations and taking ownership for your own learning. The day starts with breakfast goodies, reconnecting with old friends and making new friendships while the conference schedule board begins to fill up. We were constantly reminded that there were still openings on the board, you don't have to be an expert, and you need to make sure you get what you came for. I wandered over to see what the sessions were going to be about and totally surprised myself when I went ahead and signed up to lead a discussion on "Using Tech to Support Reading and Writing for 3rd-5th Grades."

Oops, it's four months later and I never finished this post! Sorry...let me just add a few more notes...

My session was during the first of three time slots. There were just a handful of participants and that made for a good easy going group discussion. In the end I was glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone.

The next session was on Making writing authentic we waited a bit for the person that signed up for the topic but s/he never showed so participants just began sharing.
A few notes from that discussion:

  • Use Kidblog-everything is approved by the teacher first
  • The Book Writing in Science was mentioned as a good read
  • Voki and Blabberize were mentioned as online tools for writing
  • Powerwriting: Give a word-students write for 1 minute. Repeat 2 more times. Each time count and circle number of words. As the year progress they see the growth. No punctuation, spelling etc. just get ideas down. Good for any area.
  • After watching a video write one word for each: adjective, emotion, interesting, oh?, Um
The third session was on global learning and led by Lisa Parisi and Michael Soskil, both experts on the subject.
  • A few notes from this presentation:
  • Use Twitter and Skype in the Classroom
  • Mystery Skype is the gateway drug to Skype
    • Need a map
    • Post questions and kids jot answers, have maps and computers available
    • Someone takes pictures, videos, researches, crosses impossibles off the map
    • Once finished have a Q&A session
    • Takes 20-25 minutes
    • Look up location on Google Earth when it's finished
    • It helps dispel stereotypes
  • Need to think about why you want to connect, what are you doing, how can you connect
  • Share the good stories
The day ended with a Smackdown, I'll share what I wrote down but not much detail:

Remind-communicate without giving out personal info can have office hours so parents can respond
YouTube Aurasma-demo people make book trailers with it
Edpuzzle-take YouTUbe video, you can shorten it, and add questions. Students can rewind and relisten to parts. formative assessment with one device

It was a great day and I was very glad that I made the trip. I hope to return next year with some teacher friends. 

No comments:

Post a Comment