My Dilemma at #EdCampCT

Photo Credit: sedson

Last Friday, I attended my third EdCamp. Having truly enjoyed the first two #edcampNYC events I attended, I was really looking forward to this one. And, on the  train heading  home from #edcampnyc, I set a goal for myself that I would “give back” and do a presentation at the next edcamp I attended. D-day was here!

Sharing the ride with one of my long time CAIS COT buddies, Nikki (@ncingiser), set the day off on the right foot, and then it just got better from there! Ethel Walker was a beautiful venue for the event and the organizers did a nice job explaining the day’s plan. I was really looking forward to meeting some of my twitter “friends” face to face (especially @mytakeonit !), and also making some additional connections to other public and private school educators.

CC Photo Credit: sedson

Now came the dilemma… the board starts to fill up. Within each time block, there are at least two (sometimes three!) places that I want to be at the SAME TIME. And… because I committed (to myself) to present in a session, this would mean that during one of the time slots, I couldn’t attend ANY other sessions. EEK! Decisions, decisions… I put my presentation in the first time slot thinking that I could share first, and then begin to absorb as much as I could from others. Maybe I could split a few sessions, or maybe some of the sessions wouldn’t be what I was expecting and I could move to another…  time would tell.

I headed off to set up for my presentation, feeling good that I was achieving a personal goal that I had set for myself . To be honest, a small part of me was very nervous that no one would show up. Too late, though. It was a risk that I had taken when I wrote my name on the card!   Turns out, before long, there was standing room only, and I was off sharing something that I am so passionate about- being a connected educator. Another of my CAIS COT friends, Cheryl Costello- Academic Tech at Cheshire Academy, attended my session. That calmed me down a bit.  She even tweeted: “I always learn something new from @lcarroll94 . Can’t wait to check out the indep educators Ning and Diigo groups! #edcampct #isedchat” Thanks @cherylcostello!

Here’s my presentation: “Learning Never Stops When You’re Connected”

Once my presentation ended, I was forced to continue dealing with my dilemma of the day… where to go next!

For the second session, I chose  “Managing Writing Assessment & Teaching with Digital Texts & Tools”. This was not a “natural” pick for me, as a math teacher, but the title  intrigued me and I figured I would share what I learned with others back at Hamden Hall. Greg McVerry was a terrific presenter and offered some very sound advice for managing student’s digital work. I often use Twitter to take public, sharable notes… here are some of mine during Greg’s presentation:

  • Learning about Targeted Areas of Growth approach. Pick 3 goals of areas for improvement with @jgmac1106#edcampct
  • TAG TEAM approach…vary writing assignments btw individual/ collaborative. #edcampctstudents HIGHLIGHT their targeted areas of growth…. use curation tools, let kids play! #edcampct
  • You don’t need to assess every online discussion. Look for ways students are using multi-modal features… assess it! #isedchat#edcampct
  • Screencast-o-matic to assess writing. teacher provides oral feedback, students comment. cuts grading time in 1/2 via @jgmac1106#edcampct
  • disciplinary specific goals… writing like a scientist, writing like a historian, share examples… “I do, we do, you do” #edcampct

I was bummed that I missed “How to Build a Better Project in the Google age by asking better questions w/ @ldelia“, but I made a very good choice, learned a lot and even shared some of the ways I used screencasting to assess student work.

Onto the next session…

Tom Daccord did a full day of Professional Development at Hamden Hal last fall, so I was very aware of what a great presenter he was.  I was super excited for his session “Building iPad PD (5 mistakes schools are making & ways to avoid them)”. Perfect topic as we launched a faculty pilot iPad program this spring and just purchased a class set of 18 to be “checked out” around the school. Here are some of my tweets:
  • In @thomasdaccord ‘s session: Building iPad PD (5 mistakes schools are making & ways to avoid them) #edcampct
  • Mistake: “failure to compose and deliver a clear vision of why iPads ?”develop a consistent, clear message on value added#edcampct
  •  iPads cannot be a replacement for everything a computer can do… shouldn’t be either/ OR. use the tool that fits! #edcampct
  •  Mistake: “failure to distinguish the difference between what an iPad can do and what a computer can do”… stress the intrinsic benefits#edcampct
  •  “Technology should be in the service of learning” via@thomasdaccord #edcampct #isedchat
  • Mistake: PD is often an after thought w/ iPads. Teachers need to learn HOW to work with ipads, have a comfort level. #edcampct
  • “iPad As” from edtechteacher….  Learning goals FIRST! via @thomasdaccord #edcampct
  • iPad is meant to be a single user device… need to consider how “shared iPads” will impact the classroom workflow. #edcampct
  • Workflow is often overlooked. It is something really important to consider. #edcampct
  • common mistake: Misguided focus on apps! #edcampct
  • clear/ thoughtful policy re: apps… teacher autonomy is good but can become an “apps festival” Have conversations first. #edcampct
  • Look for the 4 apps that cross a wide range of possibilities. exhaust the creative possibilities. #edcampct <— YES!
  • don’t focus on subject specific apps… most are lower order bloom, drill/ kill. Focus on screencast, annotation, audio/ video. #edcampct

GREAT advice here…and, when Tom said to focus on 4 or 5 apps instead of trying to figure out what everyone will need for each age group and subject area, it was like a wave of calm came over me … have you seen how many apps are out there??!! And although I wanted to be in two other places at the same time: “Using Evernote to organize & share materials & as an e-portfolio (@daveandcori)” and “Ethical Issues Around Social Networking in class. A conversation. Privacy? Access? Soical Fabric? Jeff Weitz @scienceteacher1”, I made another GREAT choice.

Off to lunch to catch up with some twitter friends that I could finally meet in person. Always fun to pick up a conversation as if I have “known” them for a long time. (well, I sorta have!) Lunch was delicious and the potato chips that everyone was talking about did not disappoint.

After lunch, I decided to be bold and hit a session that would probably put me out of my comfort zone, but I knew I needed to get an idea of what my network manager and help desk tech are up against with the 18 shared iPads. I chose “Managing shared iPads (hurdles & solutions) with @mlevesqueoi and @mytakeonit“. It was a very informative question and answer session, and I did get a bit uncomfortable and overwhelmed. I even had to back off Twitter because I couldn’t grasp the magnitude of managing multiple users on a single user device.   Here is the document that Michael and Jeremy shared.   Again… wished I could have been in “iPad Apps for Middle School/High School Math” AND “Game Theory in the Classroom? A “curiosity” discussion (@thalesdream)”, but GREAT session and I learned A LOT!

For the last session of the day, I chose  “Flipping (after a year of semi-flipped classroom) How to? Pitfalls? Structure! Management with @docjessm“. Hard choice because I wanted to also be in her husband’s session of “Schoology (and other class manage systems) taking a look at the blended learning class. Better? Not just more? @thalesdream” and also “Supporting School Values/Goals. More than just a poster on the wall. @WillyB“. CRAZY! While I have flipped with mixed success, I felt that this would be the most practical choice for me with school starting in 3 weeks. I got a lot of tips and very good advice from Jess. She was a dynamic speaker, full of energy and enthusiasm. It was a good choice to end the day!

We finished up in the Common Room with some raffles and an app SMACKDOWN!  Here is a link to the sites/ apps shared.

I have to say… my two biggest takeaways:


Although it was a day filled with dilemmas (if only all dilemmas could be like this!), I made all good choices, learned SO MUCH and leveraged Twitter (Yay for Twitter!) to try to fill in the gaps! Here is the archive of tweets in a google spreadsheet format and here they are in storify format!

Thanks again to the organizers (@sedson, @danagins, @WillyB, @jweeks21) and to all the amazing educators who took the time to share!  I feel rejuvenated and ready for another school year.

And..if you haven’t been to an EdCamp, you really should get to one… soon!