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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

EdCampNYC: Learning and Sharing

EdCampNYC: Learning and Sharing

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EdCampNYC: Learning and Sharing

Last month I had the opportunity to spend the day at EdCampNYC with other educators passionate about using technology in their learning environments. The event was held at The Avenues School in Chelsea and I was very excited to visit this space and see all of the great things I’ve heard about in person. When I arrived that morning I was greeted downstairs by their friendly staff and went straight to the library to meet up with the others who had gathered for the day’s event.

If you’ve never been to an EdCamp before, the day is unstructured for the purpose of meeting the needs of the individuals who are present and providing an informal space for learning. I knew that I wanted to talk about QR codes at EdCampNYC because it’s been on my mind the past few weeks. This month I’m hosting a few seminars on the topic and will also present at ISTE about how QR codes can be used to differentiate instruction.

After greeting a few fellow Apple Distinguished Educators who came from all over the region to attend the EdCamp, I located the session board. I picked a box and wrote in my topic hoping that others would be equally interested in talking about QR codes. The session board quickly filled up and was posted on a large screen in the library for everyone to see.

The first session I attended was facilitated by Courtney Pepe and she talked about using Google Glasses in her classroom. She shared some examples of projects she had developed for her students and gave everyone a demo. The other teachers in the room asked questions, shared their ideas, and tried out Courtney’s pair of Google Glasses.

My session on QR codes came up next and I shared with teachers how to make different kinds of QR codes and how they could be used to create leveled tasks in a multi-ability classroom. The educators in my group had lots of questions and we talked about how QR codes could link to different types of files and be distributed to students by color coding or adding images. I had a couple of slides to show examples of student projects but we mostly shared ideas of how to solve problems they had in their own learning environments.

The final session of the day was hosted by Meg Wilson who wanted to give everyone a space to talk about iBeacons. I had heard about this technology and was really excited to learn more. Meg showed some examples of how teachers are using iBeacons in their classroom including a great video by Paul Hamilton. It definitely got me thinking and I’m very excited to see how this technology can transform more teachers’ instructional practice.

EdCampNYC was definitely a success and I’m so glad I was able to attend. Not only was it wonderful to see so many familiar faces and share some of my favorite things, it was a great opportunity to learn about new technology and visit an innovative learning environment.

Have you been to an EdCamp? Share your experience below!

Paul Hamilton's video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S04viOYnSg4
Courtney Pepe's blog: http://mrspepe.com/
Meg Wilson's website: http://ipodsibilities.com/
My QR resources: http://classtechtips.com/tag/qr-codes/

This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

Comments (3) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Dan Callahan's picture
Dan Callahan
Professional Learning Specialist, Edcamper, Graduate Professor

I was lucky enough to be there as well for a part of the day, and I'm glad you enjoyed your day!

Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Director of Social Media Strategy and Marketing @Edutopia, edcamp organizer

Monica -

Thanks for sharing. To me, edcamps are as good as it gets. In one word, they're "awesome."

There are many things that I absolutely LOVE about edcamps:

1) There is no presenting -- only collaborating. It takes into account that everyone has a useful perspective and expertise. How many presentations have you been to where you wanted to add a tip, clarify with what you learned, or collaborate to take the idea further? You can do that with edcamps. In fact, if I was inspired by an idea or just part of a session, I could organically just collaborate with people there. It's awesome and it's 100% self-directed learning.

2) Adding to the self-directed learning bit is the rule of two feet. If you're not getting what you want to out of a session, move with your feet. It amazes me that all professional-development doesn't embrace this. I now do this with all conferences (even though it may be seen as rude to some).

3) It's fun -- just like we all talk about when we teach -- learning has to be fun and with edcamps, it's fun, inspiring, and supportive.

There are soooo many more things I love but hopefully this gets the conversation started and feel free to ask us any questions. There are some inspiring edcamp veterans that have responded in this discussion so far.

Rafranz Davis's picture
Rafranz Davis
Executive Director of Professional and Digital Learning, Lufkin ISD

I love edcamps so much that I am pretty much spoiled when it comes to conferences. As someone who trains teachers daily, I start all of my sessions with "What do you want to learn today" and encourage learners to draw from each other throughout because we all have expertise. I blame Edcamps, entirely for adopting this chain of thought.

Reflecting on my edcamp journey, I went because I wanted to know what they were about and I was interested in learning from a diverse group of educators. I also wanted to connect with people...members of my PLN.

When I go to edcamps now, it is still because I am interested in learning from a diverse group and also to connect. I'm proud of that because those connections are what fuel my fire today.

A few months ago, while at Edcamp Dallas, a few of us sat aside during a session to have our own mini "Session" about serving in the instructional technology specialist role. It was great to sit there...outside of an actual session to hear that some of our struggles were not only equal but adjustable through ideas shared from each other.

This was a discussion that did not need to happen in an open forum like twitter and being able to do that in that space was perfection.

That, is what edcamps are about...Learning what you want...when you need it.

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