Saturday I participated in an event that I can only describe as transformational, historic, paradigm shifting, brave, bold, inspirational, etc., you get the idea. edcampHOME was organized by David Theriault, Karl Lindgren-Streicher, Kelly Kermode, and Shawn White. I can’t thank them enough for their efforts in providing this amazing opportunity. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
The actual edcampHOME experience began with a request to customize the ‘lower third’ for GHO (Google Hangout). Kelly created an easy-to-follow video to accomplish this task. Admittedly, this took a lot longer than it should have. I still don’t know why it took me three browsers (Firefox, Safari, and Chrome) and several inquiries to Apple forums to accomplish, but I was finally able to access the Hangout Toolbox and customized my ‘lower third,’ which included my name, Twitter handle, city of origin, and the edcampHOME logo. I love learning this kind of stuff because the learning always extends beyond the actual task at hand. Next, we were asked to use gPlus.to to shorten our Google+ URLs because we were going to be entering our URLs into documents when we sign up for sessions, which would allow the moderators/facilitators to invite us to the GHOs. Kelly created yet another video to help us with this process. I ran into a problem because it gPlus kept telling me I had already shortened mine. I reported this to poor Kelly, and she sent me my shortend gPlus.to handle. (Thanks, Kelly!) Felt silly, but I got over it. I only mention these things because the mantra for the day, as coined by Karl:
Fail forward. Share the mess. We are all #BetterTogether.
After reading Kristina Campea’s clever “Twas the Night Before EdCamp,” I was ready to hit the sack and rest up for a great day of learning.
1. Welcome and transparent troubleshooting. I highly suggest you watch the unbelievable, transparent troubleshooting that took place via this video. It was a honor to be able to witness the messy learning that occurred. The video runs almost four hours, but the best part occurred during the beginning. In a very short time:
- participants brainstormed sessions using Lino Board – amazing!
- organizers set up the session voting document and shared it out – amazing!
- participants voted for sessions and shared the results with participants in real-time – amazing!
- organizers asked participants to respond, via Today’s Meet and Twitter, if they wanted to repeat some very popular sessions and decided to run some sessions twice based on participant feedback in real-time – amazing!
- organizers set up sign up document by filling in facilitator names, opened it up and allowed participants to sign up by entering their shortened gPlus.to URLs – after initially forgetting to ‘share’ the document with participants and having too many people viewing document at the same time (only 50 allowed to edit at a time), remember learning is messy, this, too was amazing!
2. Session 1 – Preventing Teacher Burnout was facilitated by Vicky Sedgwick and moderated by Lisa Light. I enjoyed getting to speak with these two about this important topic. As we spoke, we came up with four points to tackle to prevent teacher burnout: 1. time mangement, 2. filtering strategies, 3. keeping a positive focus – two resources shared What Is Your #EduWin and #edugood, and 4. finding good people to connect with via social media.
3. Session 2 – Teacher PD: Models that Work was facilitated by Tiffany Freeman and moderated by Melissa Lim. I enjoyed talking with the great people who joined this session. We mostly seemed to be instructional technology specialists who had various levels of experience at running PD for schools or districts. We all agreed that PD needs to be job-embedded and ongoing to be effective. Dustin Ellis compiled a comprehensive document with all the resources we talked about. Thanks, Dustin!
4. Slam & Closing – Our session ran over, and I was late joining the Slam. I still haven’t gone through it all but am looking forward to learning even more from it and the rest of the sessions I wasn’t able to participate in.
Post-edcampHOME & Brief Review of Literature:
This was my third edcamp. I have participated in edcampSTL for the past 2 years, so I am hooked on the edcamp model of learning. In my edcampSTL reflection I noted the value of the “friends educating each other” concept of adult education championed by adult learning theorist Eduard Lindeman as he outlines the best conditions for adult education:
Small groups of aspiring adults who desire to keep their minds fresh and vigorous; who begin to learn by confronting pertinent situations; who dig down into the reservoirs of their experience before resorting to texts and secondary facts; who are led in discussion by teachers who are also searchers after wisdom and not oracles: this constitutes the setting for adult education, the modern quest for life’s meaning (1926, pp. 4-7)
I went on to note that Lindeman and Malcolm Knowles advocate that adult learning should be social and that small group discussion is a key element. Adult learning theory suggests that adult learners have a desire for control, flexibility, and feedback which are satisfied by the self-directed nature of edcamps.
In addition, Edward Taylor (2008) suggested three elements necessary in a transformational learning environment: “promoting inclusion (giving voice), promoting empowerment (belongingness and equity as a cultural member), and learning to negotiate effectively between and across cultures” (p. 9). Through community, discussion, reflection, and meaning-making, informal learning opportunities, such as edcamps, provide the setting for these transformational social interactions to occur.
If the best possible conditions for adult and professional learning require that they be self-directed, differentiated, motivating, and flexible, then edcamps fits the bill! Just add in some self-analysis and personal reflection for a complete professional learning experience.
edcampHOME vs edcampINPERSON:
So what is the difference between edcampHOME and edcampINPERSON? I think the main difference is the obvious, you get to connect with even more people who are spread far wider than the in-person edcamps. Both models are inspiring and exhilarating experiences. I find the ability to connect with people far and wide on a topic that is interesting to all session participants for a sustained period of time is really empowering. edcampHOME allows you to participate from wherever you are located, edcampINPERSON has various amounts of travel and personal scheduling involved, but it’s so much fun to meet the people in your PLN and soon-to-be members of your PLN fact-to-face! Living in the Midwest, I am fortunate to have numerous edcamps available throughout the year within five hours of my home. I haven’t taken advantage of the ones that require spending the night, yet, but I plan on trying this. Still, life happens and since edcamps are my favorite way to connect and learn with other educators, edcampHOME provided yet one more opportunity for transformative, self-directed learning that helps me feel connected and become a better educator because like Karl said, “We are all #BetterTogether!”
edcampHOME & The Future of Informal Professional Development and Beyond:
“I look forward to using this approach of combining Tweeting and Google Hangouts, all being streamed live through YouTube to learn and interact with others. I see the potential to take this concept and use it with students, parents, and other teacher to enable learning, connectivity, and a sense of community in ways we never knew possible.”
Thanks, Kay, for expressing what I was feeling. I, too, see the extraordinary potential for education and the communities these tools can connect and support, and the future is brilliant!
Lindeman, E. (1926). The meaning of adult education. New York, NY: New Republic, Inc.
Taylor, E. (2008). Transformative learning theory. New Directions for Adult & Continuing Education, (119), 5–15. doi:10.1002/ace.301
Yeaxlee, B. A. (1925). Spiritual values in adult education: A study of a neglected aspect. London, England: Oxford University Press.
edcampHOME: A Few Initial Thoughts by Karl Lindgren-Streicher
Twitter + YouTube + Google+ = A New Kind of PD by Kay Bisaillon