I looked forward all year to EdCamp Birmingham. As soon as tickets were available I got mine, and it's a good thing I did since they sold out fast! Many EdCamp events into their second & third years sold out this year as well. Why? Because EdCamp events are the most inspiring, energizing, creative, innovative professional development unconference you will ever attend. It will be THE professional development you will eagerly wait in anticipation until it comes your way again.
EdCamp Birmingham was hosted this year at Trace Crossings Elementary School in Hoover, Alabama. Members of the EdCamp Birmingham team greeted us at the door with an incredibly easy sign in procedure using an iPad and EventBrite. Student ambassadors provided attendees with name badges and bags containing sponsor and EdCamp Birmingham event information.
The EdCamp Birmingham team provided attendees with a breakfast treat of coffee from Starbucks and bagels from Panera. It was awesome to see old friends from the first EdCamp Birmingham event and exciting to meet new twitter friends face to face. While enjoying breakfast we were oriented to how EdCamp events work, where to find the session board, how to add sessions to the session board and other housekeeping information.
The first session I attended was "Love It! Hate It!" In this session participants are presented with an educational topic like tenure, homework, charter schools, etc. and asked to move to the side of the room with a smiley face on the wall if you Love It, to the side of the room with a sad face if you Hate It or to the middle of the room if you are "riding the fence" on the subject. Then each group has a minute or two to discuss why they choose the side they are on.
Lunch was delicious, fun and informative. Besides great food, lunchtime is when my very favorite part of EdCamp happens...the SmackDown! During this time any attendee can come to the computer to share with the group an app or website that they have used that has been beneficial in their classroom. Here is a link to the EdCamp Birmingham's SmackDown: http://edcampbham.wikispaces.com/Web+Smackdown
After lunch I attended another fun session about Photoblogging. We learned several ways to blog easily with our students using photoblogging apps.
Before I even realized it all the sessions were over and I was having to say goodbye to friends new and old. The nice thing about EdCamp is that the connections and the learning never really stops. Since EdCamp Birmingham I have continued to learn from attendees on Twitter as they share their knowledge and exciting new educational finds.
I guess the overall reason I love attending EdCamp events is because the educators who attend these events are passionate about learning and are willing to step outside of their comfort zone to provide the best education for their students. These people invigorate me to continue to keep learning and moving forward as well.
Not sure where to find an EdCamp event? Click this link to see when an EdCamp event is coming near your town: http://edcamp.wikispaces.com/
If you are near the Atlanta area be sure to attend the first EdCamp Atlanta event on September 8, 2012. I love EdCamp events so much I just had to bring this unique experience to the Atlanta area! You can check out the fun planned for EdCamp Atlanta here: http://www.edcampatlanta.org/