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Alabama, United States
Instructional Partner, National Board Certified Teacher in Literacy, Graduate School Student, Social Media Promoter for VocabularySpellingCity, Promethean ActivInstructor and Social Media Council member, Avid Twitter @WhiteheadsClass, 2nd Vice President for AL NBCT Network Board of Directors, Certified ALEX Trainer

Sunday, May 6, 2012

EdCampBham: My First Unconference Experience


I had my first opportunity of attending an "unconference" at EdCampBham on May 5, 2012. What is an unconference? It is a participant driven meeting. Upon entering EdCampBham, the participants were greeted with a blank session board. Any participant could add their session to the board. Sessions ranged from preplanned to discussion. I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed the "unconference" setting. It was a time to network with fellow educators, discuss and debated education trends, and learn new teaching tools.


Since it was my first unconference experience, I chose to remain a participant. My friend, Farrah from Think Share Teach, and I started our day in "Love It or Hate It." The group was presented a variety of education topics such as tenure, homework, charter schools, and Twitter in the classroom. We had to chose if we loved the topic or hated it. You could also choose on the fence. Then, within that group, discussion on why you loved it or hated it or your reasons for being on the fence. Then, debate took place. This was my favorite session of the day. I enjoyed the discussion and debate with fellow educators. It was interesting to hear others reasons for feeling as strongly as they do. This would be a great PD session in any district. I wish it could have lasted longer.


From there, we attended a session on integrating technology into your science instruction. As a hands-on session, we got to launch rockets, created foam milkshakes, and play Angry Birds with blocks and boxes. My favorite activities involved Legos. Did you know you can create scannable QR codes with Legos? The trick is to use the thin blocks on a large mat. You simply create your code online and then replicate it. Also, I was introduced to Life With George. It is a Lego version of Flat Stanley.


During lunch, there was a Web Smackdown. Several participants had 2 minutes to share their favorite new webtool. You can click the list that was generated by {clicking here}.


I chose to attend a session on iPads in the classroom. The presenter led discussion on apps, gestures, and tricks that would make the iPad more useful in the classroom. Look forward to a blog post on iPads. This was a very informative session. I learned too much information to sum up in one paragraph.


The last session that I attended was actually presented by an 11th grade. It was refreshing to hear from a student on the importance of integrating technology into the classroom. He actually led discussion among the participants, encouraged our ideas, and praised our efforts. As a student, he agrees that technology makes learning more engaging, but there is also a time for traditional methods of teaching. He discussed BYOD (Bring Your Own Devices) policies and their possible uses. This session was another favorite of mine. The discussion was rewarding.


A lot of time and planning was put into the unconference experience. I want to take a moment to personally thank the EdCamp Team. What a great day! Now, I'm looking forward to next year's unconference!
~Cara
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1 comments:

Sherrie said...

I just attended edcampMKE yesterday and it was amazing! I have to do a blog post about it. I am your newest follower!