The Power of #EdCamps

Yesterday was a fabulous day of learning.  We came together with about 60 of our newest friends, from far and near, to learn together at Eagle Ridge Middle School in Ashburn, VA.

Some of the educators there were folks I know and work with in real life.  Others were friends I’ve connected with on Twitter, Instagram and Voxer over the last two or three years.  And many more were friends I just hadn’t met yet!  There were educators from York, Pennsylvania (about 2 hours north) and Richmond, VA (about 2 hours south) and Warren County, VA (1.5 hours west) and Alexandria (about an hour east) and everywhere in between.  We work in many different districts, rural to suburban to urban, public and private schools.  Yet we all had one thing in common.

We chose to spend our Saturday together learning to be better educators!

The conversation was so rich. We talked about 1:1 environments, tech coaching, sketchnotes, social media and so much more.  We shared tools, tips and ways to connect our classrooms.

But most importantly we talked and formed relationships.  We connected via email and Twitter and Voxer.  We started the conversations that will continue as grow and learn together.

I’ve attended many traditional conferences and several edcamps and the most important conversations take place in the hallways, over meals, in the back of the room or off to the side.  While we all benefit from the new ideas and learning that happens in “sessions” and “presentations,” we need and thrive on those human connections.  This is the learning that isn’t captured in the notes or shared presentations.  Yet this is where we grow in our practice.  We may find folks we agree with.  But even more important are folks that we disagree with.  These conversations help us define what we believe, how we do the work in our schools and help us to understand and articulate why.  They push us to have new experiences, take risks and find creative ways to solve the problems we are all facing in education.

And now I’m going to sketchnote to process the new learning from yesterday!

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