Monday, April 23, 2012

The Stars Aligned and EdCamp Atlanta Was Born

Left: Tracy Schutz @tracyschutz, Shervette Miller @ATLTeach, Cutia Blunt @Appsforclass, Ron McAllister @rondmac, Greg Walkup @teamwalkup, Nikki Robertson @NikkiDRobertson, Jaime Vandergrift  @JaimeVanderG (via Google Hangout), Wanda McClure @WandaMcClure, Kendrick Myers @MyersMr

Right: Shelley Paul @lottascales, Paula Boston @paulaboston, Kathy Shields @KathyDShields, Angie Griffin @AngieEdDirector, Glenda Wheatley @gewheatley, Cindy Dixon @DixonCindy

This past Sunday evening (April 22, 2012) EdCampATL held it's first face to face planning meeting.  Several of the attendees had been trying for several months to get a group together to form an EdCamp Atlanta and last month the stars aligned and we all found each other, forming the Fab Five...(which I think should be changed to the Super Six).  The Fab Five (Super Six) includes: Wanda McClure, Nikki Robertson, Tracy Schutz, Catherine Flippen, Janelle Wilson, & Shervette Miller-Payton. From that moment on planning has been fast a furious.  Each one of the original organization members has unique skills and all the "pieces" fit and work together like a well oiled machine.  To see us in action you would think we had been working together for years!  In just that short amount of time we have accomplished the following:  

Interested in attending EdCampATL?  Register here:  Eventbrite - EdCamp Atlanta

Sunday we slashed through a pretty hefty agenda under the great leadership of Wanda McClure.  While we now have even more balls in the air than before, I am confident in the planning meeting participants and in the Fab Five (Super Six) to bring this event together seamlessly for Georgia K-16 Educators.

Stay tuned to this blog and watch our baby grow!

To learn more about what an EdCamp event is, read this selection by Sarah Fudin:

EdCamp is a new professional development tool for educators that’s centered on an event known as an “unconference.” The unconference was conceived by technology professionals in 2005 for a Silicon Valley event known as BarCamp. Since then, the notion of an unconference has evolved to encompass any ad-hoc gathering that allows people with similar interests to come together for presentations, workshops, performances, demonstrations and discussions.The schedule for an unconference is typically created the morning of the event with all attendees free to contribute to the design of sessions.

How does an unconference operate? Unlike most professional conferences, an unconference is free of charge (the cost of the facility and other miscellaneous costs like T-shirts are covered by sponsors). On the day of the event, everyone who’s interested in leading a session posts an index card on the conference schedule board. The number of sessions is only limited by the size of the facility. The event organizers hold a quick kick-off meeting to convene the conference and then the sessions begin. Participants may attend any sessions they want and are encouraged to move between sessions to find topics that hold their interest. Participant discussion and networking between sessions is an integral part of an unconference.

The open participatory unconference model was first applied to education in 2010 at EdCamp Philly, an unconference dedicated to K-12 issues and ideas. According to blogger Mary Beth Hertz, an elementary school computer teacher and one of the organizers of EdCamp Philly, EdCamp sessions typically range from basic conversations about teaching methods to sharing student projects to discussions on how to use technology in the classroom. While edcamps don’t necessarily focus on technology, the use of  technology to share information is integral to the EdCamp experience.

EdCamps have been described as organic participant-driven professional development. Because attendance is voluntary, there is a great deal of commitment, enthusiasm and excitement among EdCamp participants. One of the best things about EdCamp is that there is no established hierarchy between presenters and attendees, allowing a greater exchange of ideas. This flattened hierarchy empowers educators to take control of their own professional development and grow their personal learning network.

Not only teachers can benefit from the EdCamp experiences. Administrators can get a fresh perspective about teaching issues and see methodologies that they can take back to their own schools. They can also network with administrators from other schools and school districts. Many EdCamp organizers hope that inviting administrators to EdCamps will encourage school districts to adopt the unconference model to support educator-driven professional development and learning.

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