If you have never been to an EdCamp or un-conference, then look for one to attend this summer! An unconference takes place when a group gets together without a preset agenda of events. The agenda is set by the present attendees who volunteer to lead a discussion or share ideas with the audience. When in attendance, you need to consider what you want to learn. If the session you are in does not meet your needs, then the rule of 2 feet applies. You will not offend anyone if you move out of one session and enter another. People move freely between sessions for many reasons. The Philly EdCamp was the first in the educational movement for this type of program and has been acclaimed all over the world as best practice for PD. Congratulations to the founding members who created this type of workshop/seminar day.
The day began with food of course sponsored by the PAECT. The schedule was set and even on a Saturday morning, the teachers were excited to begin. Sessions and the notes can be found HERE. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the MIT Appinventor project. A mobile application design class is offered at BCCC to undergrads to learn the MIT program for creating apps. This project is co-sponsored by Verizon and is gaining in popularity. For more information: appinventor.org/projects
There were sessions about using NearPod, GoogleApps for Education, Creating a Culture of Innovation, Minecraft in School, STEM, BYOD and much more. It is not always the tips and gadgets that make the day, but the fellowship, meeting new people and collaboration that enhances each session.
The flipped classroom session offered some tips that I thought were valuable. For example: If SIRI can answer your question then it should NOT be on the test. If you are showing a video for a homework assignment, make sure there is a concept that can only be described by watching the whole video. Students generally liked hearing their own teacher’s voice rather than a professional narrator in a film. Another teacher offered her classes a 20% time for them to work on projects of their own. One group of students recreated the show “Cupcake Wars” in the classroom for everyone to enjoy. Allowing her flipped time to be determined by students gave the a chance to explore an interest or share a passion.
If you had 20% time to work on a pet project, what would it be? I would love to learn to play the piano!