Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending my first EdCamp-EdCampNJ (#edcampnj). I had high expectations for this event, and I’m happy to say I wasn’t let down. I will admit to being more than a bit overwhelmed though. There was such great learning going on and such great people to collaborate with I wish I could have cloned myself several times over for the day.
I could talk about the wonderful people I met, the great sessions I attended, or the great resources and strategies I picked up, instead I’d like to reflect on the overall quality of this type of professional development. EdCamp allows all the professionals to control their own learning, and by working collaboratively, help grow from where they are, to where they want to be. This is truly relevent professional development, because we had ownership of the learning. (Something we should want to create for our students.) Even better, is that because of the connections made throughout the day, this learning didn’t stop when we left for the day-it will be ongoing.
EdCampNJ brought together 300 educators (in person, there were more than a few attending virtually), as well as at least one inspiring student I met. The freedom of the EdCamp set up allowed all of us to be where we wanted, when we wanted, with whom we wanted. Like I said, I was a bit overwhelmed with all the choices, and at one point in the day took advantage of 4 different sessions in the same time period just because i wanted to gain more knowledge.
And gain knowledge I did. I learned (and hopefully contributed to the learning of others) all day long and all night long, thanks to the conversations the event ignited on Twitter. There was so much expertise gathered at Linwood Middle School and it provided such tremendous opportunity. The collaborative nature of the sessions really was the best part-the knowledge of everyone was respected. We all have something great to share about what we do as educators, and that idea was embraced yesterday. By meeting each other where we are we can move forward together.
It’s true that none an know everything, but that’s ok-as long as we keep working together to share what we do know, grow that knowledge, keep learning, and moving our profession forward. I know that I grew as person and a professional at EdCampNJ and I can’t wait to share my new knowledge and help in someone else’s professional growth.
I just want to thank all the organizers of EdCampNJ for creating an environment for such honest and organic collaboration, and for the opportunity to meet some great members of my PLN.
For this of you reading this who couldn’t attend the event, here are links to the sessions’ docs; Smackdown resources; and pictures to get you fired up for next year. (Save the Date-11/22/14) I plan on doing my part to turn 300 attendees into 600 just like Billy Krakower (@wkrakower) wants.