EdCampWNC

A while back, I got the chance to go to my first EdCamp. In case you’ve missed the EdCamp movement, it’s conferences and workshops essentially run, managed, designed, and led by the people attending. Sessions are not decided upon until the day of and then you go to the ones you are most interested in. There are no designated session leaders; you build once you get there.

I was very excited to go and experience this. I went into it knowing that I may not get the specific librarian stuff that I’d get at a library-specific conference, so having that in my head to start really helped me not care if what I was getting wasn’t library-specific. Overall I had a great experience, though I think there was one major improvement that could be made.

First, here’s a little about the session I went to.

1st session – Managing MakerSpaces

  • This became less about management and more just a discussion of what people are doing in MakerSpaces.
  • It was nice to get that information, but I really was looking for help on managing things like making sure students have equity in their access, advertising and marketing, keeping up with the supplies and equipment, etc.
  • I did learn a lot about where to go to find supplies and equipment.
  • This was the most library-specific session.

2nd session – What can you do with Canvas? (

  • Canvas is a new (?) Learning Management System ala Moodle, Blackboard, etc. It’s very likely that everyone in NC will be getting it soon.
  • And it sounds great! (Mental note: so do a whole lot of other things that didn’t turn out so great, so I do still have my doubts.)
  • It works collaboratively with any online programs including automatic grading and pushing grades to PowerSchool, all Schoolnet stuff, and Google Classroom.
  • I made a note here that said only “Problems with 1:1.” I think I probably meant problems without 1:1 student access to computers. We already have an issue with not enough computers in our building, but 1:1 is coming, so we will just deal with it until then. Another attendee at this session suggested doing stations in the classroom, where you split up into groups and only need 5 computers at a time.
  • I got early access to Canvas, but haven’t had time to mess with it yet.

3rd session – Using Twitter to Grow Your PLN

  • I ended being a big voice in this session as I was (surprisingly) one of the higher users of twitter.
  • I loved sharing what I know and why I use it.
  • And I learned about some hashtags and twitter chats I had missing.

My biggest complaint was the way the sessions were chosen. I love the general principle of suggesting the sessions on the day of and letting the group vote; I thought the whole process wasn’t delineated enough. What I mean is that we were told to suggest sessions and vote on them, but I didn’t feel like I was given enough time to do both. When I looked up to start voting and see how things were going, they were already putting sessions into time slots and I think some of the later votes weren’t really counted, if that’s the right word. I think it would work better to specifically brainstorm and suggest topics for 10 minutes and then specifically vote for 5 minutes. Or something like that.

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