Sunday, May 19, 2013


Two months ago I attended edCamp Columbus.  First off, a little about edCamp . . .
edCamp Columbus is an unconference. The first Edcamp columbustook place March 3rd, 2012 at Upper Arlington High School near Columbus, Ohio. The second Edcamp Coumbus will be held March 9th, 2013 at Gahanna Lincoln School’s Clark Hall. We look forward to hosting a diverse assembly of people interested in all topics related to education. Our crowd will include teachers, parents, students, and administrators. There will be representatives from early childhood, primary, secondary, and post-secondary education. Librarians, museum curators, and everyone else are encouraged to attend.
What is an unconference?
We like Wikipedia’s definition: “An unconference is a participant-driven meeting.” It’s a gathering that tries “to avoid one or more aspects of a conventional conference, such as high fees, sponsored presentations, and top-down organization.”
The description above does not do this professional development justice.  It was a great experience and just as important a quality day of learning with great educators from around the state (by the way everybody was there on a beautiful Saturday). I had the opportunity to collaborate and listen to how educators are thinking differently about the math classroom, innovative master schedules, sharing high quality open-source resources, and having a "hangout" with other edCampers from other parts of the world.  With each of these sessions, I was able to bring something back to my building.

I'm left wondering how my colleagues and I can implement an edCamp like experience with our own professional development for staff members. Has anybody out there tried an edCamp at the building or district level?

Thanks Toby Fischer, Cara Hubbell, and whoever else played a role in designing edCamp Columbus! I look forward to it next year.



Friday, February 15, 2013

Connect, Learn, Share Part 2

This past week, I attended and presented with Stan McDonald at eTech Ohio.  For those of you that are not familiar with this conference, it is all about innovative teaching and learning with technology.  Our presentation was "Designing your PLN" with a focus on Connecting, Learning, and Sharing.  We had a great conversation with the educators that attended our BYOT session.

More than just our session, I was able to connect, learn, and share with a variety of educators both formally and informally.  From the keynote speakers to the breakout sessions to the OETCx unconference, I was able to walk away with new ideas and new friends, while also re-enforcing my thoughts on how education must evolve.

As promised, our presentation slides are below as a YouTube video; sans the talking points because they weren't there in the first place but hopefully it will jog your memory of the session.  Don't forget, on the first slide is a link to our Evernote folder.



Sunday, February 10, 2013

Connect, Learn, Share

Over the past year, I have grown to understand and appreciate the idea of connecting, sharing, and learning.  I have wrestled with the time and necessity of having a Personal Learning Network.  However, these three core ideas (connect, share, learn) are at the heart of leadership.  A PLN, while not the only way, certainly enhances and easily allows one to connect, share, and learn.

I have only begun to connect with other educators, but I have certainly found educators through my PLN that I wouldn't have otherwise found.  Just as important, I get to hear and read from highly respected educators and organizations on a regular basis instead of at a conference once a year, or an article here and there, or a book written every two years.  These same educators and organizations also frequently highlight other peoples' work that I wouldn't otherwise know about.

I had a professor in college who harped on not just absorbing information, but instead "mining for gold."  This phrase is more important than ever because of the amount of information being shared and not necessarily is it always quality.  It is also easy in our Social Media Networked world to only get the information that meshes with our current philosophy/ideas/paradigm.  As a result, we need to actively search out information that pushes, questions, and contradicts.  The constant learning that can occur is amazing and has certainly added to my traditional methods of learning.

I am still working on consistently sharing original thoughts or at least a new perspective as well as (re)posting interesting articles.  The hardest part is thinking that you have something important, new, or original to share.  Another difficult task, but no less important, is to leave comments through blogs, articles, and twitter discussion. There is a wealth of information out there, hopefully we can all add to the conversation.

So get out there to connect, share, and learn with your PLN.