Monday, January 16, 2012

Ed Camp Delta - Jan 14, 2012

This past Saturday I took part in my first Ed Camp experience.  For those that are unfamiliar with what an Ed Camp experience is let me explain.  Ed Camp is a FREE educator's conference.  Participates suggest topics in advance of the conference and during the morning of the conference.  The sessions being offered through out the day are not actually decided upon until that morning.  There are no keynote speakers or pre determined themes.  Everything is finalized the morning of the conference when the participants (like me) show up.  Let me tell you how the day went for me.

I arrived in Delta early and I got myself registered.  I had registered in advance on line so there was a name tag waiting for me.  You didn't have to do that though, anyone could have shown up the morning of.  I was also given four post it notes and was told to put my name on each one.  I was then directed to the library, the gathering point of the day.

When I arrived in the library there were several topic sheets on a wall, each listing a different potential topic for the day.  I looked over the topics and started to put  my post it notes on topics that were of interest to me.

In the days prior to the conference I had actually submitted a topic - Technology in a Primary Classroom.  To be perfectly honest I was leery that the conference would have no relevance for me so I figured if I submitted a topic that was relevant to me then maybe I would connect with like minded educators.  As it turned out there were other people interested in my topic.

I didn't put up all my post it notes up at first because I wasn't sure what else I wanted to learn about.  Also as more people arrived, more people were adding topics to the board.  Suddenly I thought of another topic I wanted to talk/learn more about - Twitter in the Classroom.  I quickly scribbled my topic down on a blank paper and posted it to the wall.  To my surprise other people added their names to my topic too.  I was excited inside, maybe it was going to be a good day after all.

Around 9:30 in the morning all the post it notes had to be up on the board. At this time the organizers counted post it notes for each topic and created a schedule for the day.  It was interesting to watch because they had to be careful not to put the highly popular topics (the ones with the most post it notes) at the same time.  If you clicked the link above you can see that there were seven different topics per session and four sessions per day. You can also check out any notes that are available for each of the topics.

In the end my four post-it notes landed on Techology in a Primary Classroom, Using an Ipad as a Tool for Digital Literacy, How Can We Improve Professional Learning, and Twitter in the Classroom.

After a few introductions and presentations the participants (like me) headed off to their first sessions.

I walked into the room for Technology in the Primary Classroom.  I had been the one that suggested the topic but I had no idea how it was going to work.  David Wees @davidwees was in the session along with one of my district's math helping teachers and several other interested educators. It was a good session where we shared ideas.

From there I moved to my next session - Using and Ipad as a Tool for Digital Literacy.  The discussion started with Doug Tennant stating that he didn't like iPads and saw no use for them.  It was a great discussion starter weather he really believed that or not.  We listened as people talked about the iPad projects there were involved with both the positive and not so positive aspects.  There was a lot of discussion and it got me thinking about my ideal number iPads if I could have them.  It was interesting to hear how different grade levels see iPads being used in their classrooms.  I certainly think they are an ideal tool for primary students.

Then it was lunch time.  We were all treated to a free (by donation) bag lunch.  I managed to connect with Bryan my trainer at the Apple Training Centre back in December.  I couldn't figure out something on my iPad, but for what ever reason he couldn't figure it out either.  It was no big deal though but I'm glad I was able to ask for his help.  That's one thing that was really cool about Ed Camp Delta.  I met several people that I follow on twitter.  Instead of us having discussions via 140 character tweets we were talking face to face.  That was a pretty cool aspect of Ed Camp.

After lunch it was back for session #3 How Can We Improve Professional Learning?  This session brought out some great discussion as well.  What was interesting is that everyone in the session (there were 11 of us) were from different school districts.  I listened a lot and found it fascinating to hear what others were doing successfully.  One district has a lot of inquiry projects. It reminded me that I need to seek out more of them in my district.  I've been involved with some in the past but need to get involved again.  It's such a great way to learn with support from your district.

My final session was Twitter in the Classroom, another topic I suggested.  It was nice to have other people interested in this topic too.  Again there was some discussion and ideas were shared.  While several of the participants are already tweeting to, or with their classes, it was a new idea for others.  Again, it was another good discussion.

After the final session we all met back in the library for closing comments and door prizes.  While I was lucky enough to win a prize from simple K12's online global education community, I wasn't lucky enough to win the iPad 2.

Overall it was a really positive experience.  I was extremely impressed with the organization and the quality of people that attended.  I liked learning with admin, teachers, parents and students.  There were some very intelligent people sharing some excellent ideas.

SO the question is... would I take part in one again? Definitely,  in fact my school district is hosting one in February and I'll totally be there.  Will you?

If you've ever been to an Ed Camp what were your experiences like? I'd love to hear about them.


  1. Karen,

    Thank you for the complete summary of the day. I really wished I could have been there to experience the rich discussions going on. I did follow along on twitter for a little while my son napped. Did you know it was trending for a while on Saturday? It was cool to experience that way, but I definitely want to be a part of one. I didn't realize our district will be hosting one too. Are you helping organize? Has a date been set? With 2 young ones I have to get my requests in early. :).

  2. Karen,

    I'm glad you enjoyed Edcamp Delta. As organizers it's difficult to know how people felt as they walked away from the event. This is the second Edcamp I have participated in. I also attended Edcamp Vancouver. At both events I have found the energy of the participants to be inspiring. Connecting face-to-face with members of my PLN has also been a highlight. Please spread the positive words about the 'unconference' model to your friends and colleagues. We look forward to hosting another event next school year and hope you can attend.


  3. Great to hear a detailed summary of what the day looks like from the perspective of a participant. I am trying to help set up EdCamp Vancouver Island (March 3 for anyone interested) and reading your post helped clarify a few things for me. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Sorry for one reply all in one but my reply feature on your individual comments isn't working this evening.

    Hugh, it was a really good experience. The best way to describe it was twitter but instead of interacting via computer you have real people to speak with. Each room was like a hashtag and so you checked out and followed only the hashtags that were important to you. Except of course when you wanted to be in two place at once. It's a bit easier to do that in twitter but no so much so at an Ed Camp :-) . My contribution to EdCamp Surrey will be what ever I say in the session I chose to attend.

    Aaron I will certainly spread the positive word and particularly to early primary teachers like myself as I feel we are often under represented. If I am able I will certainly next year's conference. Can I make one suggestion though, and not have the two lower mainland edcamps on the same day. I would have attended both if I could have.

    Kyle I'm glad I could help out. It was a great experience. It's powerful stuff when you bring like minded keen learners/educators together.

    Thank you all for commenting on my blog.