It provided a chance to go home and see some family as well as connect with amazing educators from across the region at the conference. At the "tweet-up" the night before the conference we were discussing how many edcamps we had attended. For me it was my 12th. For Toby Brown, professor from Oklahoma St is was his 30 something (he is currently writing his dissertation on edcamps) and for the Queen of Edcamp Christine Ruder it was her 25th.
There is a reason people attend and come back to edcamps in my opinion. From a professional development side it might be the lure of choosing what I learn, having conversations instead of "sit and gets", and voting on my feet if the session does not meet my needs. Perhaps people enjoy the connecting with like minded educators and seeing old friends. Perhaps it's for reasons outlined in this poster created by +Kasey Bell
|Image created by +Kasey Bell @ShakeUpLearning|
Lunch was then catered in by some great sponsors and my conversations continued and included even more people. After lunch I was able to catch up with some other amazing people in the hallways and great spaces that the UNO facility afforded before I had to take off to get back to KC for a fundraiser event my district was hosting that evening.
As I drove back to KC after I got thinking about the conversations I had. I tweeted about some of those thoughts and those people thanking them for the great conversations that affirmed me in some cases and pushed my thinking in other cases. I then tweeted this:
Ann Feldmann, Mickie Mueller, and Cynthia Stogdill.
So if you are still reading this let me get into my evolution of attending edcamp. As I mentioned this was my 12th. I have blogged many times about edcamp and I suppose I will probably continue to do that because when I attend an edcamp I am always inspired, encouraged, empowered, pushed, and feeling like I am on the right path!
Five years ago when I attended my very 1st Edcamp in Omaha I had no idea what to expect, but immediately fell in love with the environment, connecting with and meeting new people, and learning! 11 edcamps after that one I realize my needs as a professional have evolved. I remember the days when I would walk in the door and people would be asking and expecting me to host a session on Google! I remember getting asked to hold "app smackdown" sessions. I remember helping co-lead the "staple" sessions like "Rocks vs Sucks or Twitter 101". Part of that was because I was a "veteran" to the edcamp and it was as if I felt obligated to host those sessions for the newbies. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed doing those sessions, but I could feel myself slipping away from wanting to do those sessions the past couple of years.
The power for me has always come in the conversations and my needs as a learner have evolved with the positions I have held and where I am today. Edcamp has never disappointed in this area as I have mentioned in a recent post about my time at Edcamp Liberty. As I looked at the boards for Edcamp Omaha there wasn't anything burning for me to attend particularly in the first session and that is when / where I decided to ask some folks I was surrounded by as I walked out of the main room to start up a hallway session that actually then led to a smaller conference room off the hallway. This group included Devin Schoening, Ann Feldmann, Stephen Sautter, Amanda Ziegenbein, Rob Lindquist, Mike Mansour, and occasionally an interruption from Josh and Kristina! Our conversation in this small conference room off the hallway, completely impromptu, was fantastic and we actually stayed together for essentially the first 2 session times up to lunch. These educators allowed me to put myself out there and bounce ideas, thoughts, questions, and feelings percolating in my head as well as some fun bantering. This conversation was well worth the road trip for me to get there!
Another part of my evolution is the members of my PLN (Personal Learning Network) that attend edcamps. I personally look forward to seeing so many of them. I have met so many awesome educators at edcamps that are now valued members of my PLN or I had already been following them on Twitter and now the edcamp gave us the opportunity to meet face to face. It's in essence given us a reason to collide and have conversations face to face and dig deeper into conversations we are already having. This group within my PLN I believe would feel the same way in the manner of attending the edcamp to see everyone and of course in that scenario we are going to talk shop and solve the worlds educational problems! I guess one point I'm trying to make is by attending edcamps I get to see many of the same people I met at the previous edcamp the year before and that I have continued to develop relationships with on Twitter, G+, Google Hangouts, etc. Edcamp gives me a reason to schedule time to see them!
My final thoughts, if you are still reading this novel, is how will edcamps continue to evolve for educators like myself or you?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Check out these great blog posts on the recent Edcamp Omaha
#edcamp Reflections by Mickie Mueller
My Edcamp Evolution by Otis Pierce
Reflections of an edcamp attendee by Jen Houlette