#edcamponline

Yesterday, I attended #edcamponline for the second year in a row.  It’s a testament to the power of technology to connect people, and it’s just a great place to share ideas and seek advice.  It’s organized through Edcamp and the MIT Media Lab.  How did I find out about it?  Twitter, of course.  Kristen Swanson (@kristenswanson) is the Edcamp founder, and you can see her in the screenshot below.

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This is basically the launch pad. It’s the online equivalent to meeting in a cafeteria or auditorium prior to dispersing to individual sessions in a traditional #edcamp experience. Welcomes, introductions, technology overviews, and… the session sign-up board, for which Edcamps are known, occur during this time.

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This is the actual session sign-up board where suggestions can be made and voted on. People can also volunteer to be facilitators. It can be accessed through a separate link found on the launch pad.

Once Google Hangouts are built for the Top Vote getters (and this happens in the blink of an eye), attendees can click and join the session that most intrigues them.  It’s a Google Hangout, which means audio/video are necessary to participate actively.  You can mute the audio/video, but you’re there to discuss ideas and ask questions.  No one cares if you’re in your pajamas or if your children are running wild in the background.  They’re all teachers; they understand.  This is where you spend most of your time.

Googlehangout

I took a screenshot as soon as I entered the GoogleHangout. This poor lady was an innocent victim of my trigger finger.

Each session is limited to 10 people, and you can pop into other sessions if the conversation lags or several topics catch your eye.

I attended a session on digital portfolios.  I was impressed to learn that one sharer’s school has kindergarteners create portfolios and then maintain those portfolios through 3rd grade.  They use Book Creator because they’re a 1-to-1 iPad school.  I’ve had my students keep writing portfolios for years, but our school is thinking about incorporating portfolios for all students in all courses.  It was a great place to ask for advice.

Several important questions and considerations came up during the session, and I tweeted those questions and takeaways during the session using the #edcamponline hashtag.  It’s important to share what you’re learning during an Edcamp.  Some people even took notes in Google Docs and then shared their notes using the #edcamponline hashtag.  If you weren’t able to attend all the sessions (and no one could), you at least have a peak into what was shared and learned in other sessions.  Even now, if you went to Twitter and searched the #edcamponline hashtag, you could have access to these same notes, questions, and takeaways.

If you get a chance to attend next year… and you could because anyone can… you will be impressed with how it all comes together.

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