Sunday, January 5, 2014

Reflections: EdCamp Home 2014

Last year I began to notice tweets coming through my feed with the hashtag #edcamphome.  As cofounder of EdCamp Atlanta I was intrigued and started researching what this hashtag was all about.  Much to my chagrin I realized the event was in progress and I hadn't even know about! (I'm an unapologetic EdCamp junkie).  I was determined not to let the opportunity pass me by again.

The masterminds behind EdCamp Home are David Theriault, Kelly Kermode, Karl Lindgren-Steicher, and Shawn White.  Organizing a well run EdCamp event in person can be daunting but add to that the element of using Google Hangouts as the means of attendance for approximately 400 attendees from around the globe with computer skill levels ranging from beginner to expert and the complexity becomes astronomical.

Mind baffling is the word that comes to mind when thinking about everything that went into making this event run smoothly.  Setting up a website.  Establishing a private Google+ Community.  Creating an Eventbrite for ticket reservations.  Providing detailed, step by step directions as well as video tutorials for how the day would run and how to do everything from attend a session to moderate a session. The real kicker was writing a Google script (program) that would automatically generate results as they were entered by participants to make attending various sessions relatively painless.

Participants were prepared for the day in advance with directions sent from the EdCampHome Team.  It reminded me of Flipped Learning in that participants had to really look over and understand the directions provided in advance of the event so that when the day started they were ready to apply that knowledge to participate and generate engaging, informative, high order thinking skill conversations with educators from around the world.

My day at EdCampHome started at 11 am CT.  I tuned into the EdCampHome website, click on Opening Organizer GHO and clicked play to watch the live broadcast to kick off this prodigious event.  Then it was off to the races!  All attendees and moderators had approximately 15 - 20 minutes to sign up/set up Google Hangouts for the various sessions proposed by attendees.  This is where the script came into play.  Only ten people can participate in a hangout so sorting attendees into the sessions they wanted to attend and getting those invites out was a feat of pure genius.  Again, kudos to the EdCampHome Team and to all the volunteer moderators on a job well done.

The first session I attended was Coaching Teachers/Admin/Others.  I learned a great deal from this session and before I knew it our time was up.  Markette Pierce created a collaborative shared Google Doc so that we could record the great information shared to refer back to later.  

Now participants and moderators had 10 minutes to sign up/set up Google Hangouts for Session 2.  I begged my way into GAFE in the Classroom as my school is transitioning from iPads to Chromebooks and I want to make sure I have the pertinent basic information my teachers will need for this transition.

Ryan Archer lead this session and did an awesome job.  The best part of this session was meeting other educators who are in the same or similar boat as I am, connecting and establishing a solid network of support as we enter this journey together.  Our shared Google Doc can be found HERE.  Again, the time passed too quickly.

Next was my favorite part of any EdCamp…the SLAM! (aka: Smackdown)  This had to be rather tricky to set up as participants had to come in and out of a Google Hangout, not exactly the easiest feat. The Google Doc was overloaded with participants vying for a spot on the SLAM so that added a small kink to the process but certainly did not diminish the fun!  The funniest SLAM share goes to Ryan with the Hey Girl chrome extension which replaces all images on a given page with pictures of Ryan Gosling.

Stacey Roshan put together a great Screencast with clickable links to information learned during the SLAM!

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The talent found in the EdCampHome Team, the moderators and participants is endless.  I feel grateful to have been a part of this event and to expand my PLN with even more incredibly innovative, brave, educators.  

There were approximately 40 sessions during the event and I only attended two.  My next goal is to watch the other sessions and learn even more great information and find more educators to add to my PLN.  All Session 1 recordings can be found HERE. All Session 2 recording can be found HERE.

Katie Ann created a great wrap up video of the days events:

Craig Yen created a great Animoto of EdCampHome:

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