Sunday, November 5, 2017

This One Edcamp…

For the past several months, I have had the privilege of working with a talented group of educators at Loyola University Maryland. Our team had a big dream: we wanted to put on an edcamp, but not just any edcamp. We decided we wanted our edcamp to focus on educational technology and its applications in the classroom. As a member of the Howard County cohort of Loyola’s Educational Technology Master’s Program, this idea appealed greatly to me. It was a different angle that we hoped would attract a group of passionate educators -- and Edcamp Loyola (#EdcampLoyola17) achieved just that.

Attending an edcamp as both a volunteer and an eager participant is not easy. While the Big Board quickly filled with topics from Green Screen Training to Video Conferencing, I was working the registration tables and helping to set up the green screen area. While I wasn’t able to have direct input in Big Board sessions, there was definitely a wide variety of exceptional edtech topics. As official Tweeter of the day, I got to see most of the sessions underway, and I am not sure I have ever seen a more active group of edcampers. In the majority of the rooms I visited, there were spirited discussions with multiple educators participating and sharing experiences. I paused to listen to as many of these as I could, and I was blown away by the depth of experiences being shared.

The one session I spent the entire time in was Breakout EDU. I had always wanted to try a session like this, but I had never had the chance. While I understood the basic concept, actually participating in one showed me how amazingly complex it was and how much collaboration and teamwork was necessary to complete it successfully -- which we sadly did not. I left, however, with ideas swimming in my brain about how I could incorporate a Breakout session in my own classroom. And I’m not the only one who had visions of classroom applications dancing through his head. The chorus I kept hearing from participants all day was how excited they were to try a new lesson, a new tool, or a new platform in their classroom. This vibe fueled us all day, and before we knew it, the day was coming to a close.

Of course, the end of the day is one of the most exciting parts of the day for many edcampers. With a number of generous sponsors, participants had the chance to win opportunities to try tools donated to us. I want to take a moment to list all the fantastic sponsors we had on the day. We couldn’t have done it without you! Follow these fantastic folks on Twitter for the latest updates:

Loyola’s School of Education and Educational Technology Program deserve huge props for putting on such a fabulous edcamp experiences, and Dr. David Marcovitz (@DavidMarcovitz), Dr. Kelly Keane (@kellyjanekeane), and Ms. Irene Bal (@ireneamelia1) deserve a standing ovation for pioneering this day. I cannot wait until next year to see how they expand it and make it even better (which is hard to imagine). For pictures from the day, check out our Storify and search #EdcampLoyola17 on Twitter.

EdcampLoyola Planning Committee. Photo Credit: Dr. Kelly Jane Keane.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Blogging Buddies

One part of my personal PD that I am always attempting to improve is my blogging. I don't seem to have any trouble tweeting, e-mailing, or talking with my PLN, but sitting down to blog seems to be something I excel at making excuses about and forgetting.

So I decided to do something about it to become more consistent. Enter ISTE's Blogging Buddies. Early in May, I saw a tweet from Katie Siemer announcing that ISTE's #ETCoaches were hosting this group-based blogging challenge. I would be grouped with four other educators, and the goal was to blog at least once a month while also providing encouraging feedback on our group members' blogs. My teammates in this endeavor are Keith Hannah, Lorena Esper, Carrie Lowery, and Shaina Glass. Check out their burgeoning blogs, as well!

The real test now is to remain consistent with blogging. My next post will be a recap of last week's TxGoo conference in Spring, Tx. I love this conference, and this year marked my first presentation at an EdTech conference, so it was especially memorable and enjoyable.

Until then, if you think you'd like to join ISTE's #ETCoaches in Blogging Buddles, read through this Doc and register!