EDcampOK13- the unconference invades the valley

The Okanagan valley often has a problem of confronting noxious plants, alien weeds and foreign animals invading our delicate desert ecosystems. Some drastic actions are often required. Today the education unconference known as EDCamp was transplanted from lower mainland and other regions by @carolyndurley @clairethompson @naryn . Some trendy transplantation from foreign lands are toxic. EdCamp Okanagan had nothing noxious about it. It was a valuable and enjoyable way to engage with new colleagues. Thanks everyone.

20131102-155911.jpg So why would this old teacher and @literateowl bother to spend a Saturday indoors doing free pro-D? Well, firstly it’s free. It’s organized and driven along by teachers but mostly it allows free flowing discussion of big ideas that rarely get the time or light of day. Ideas like Genius Hour, Assessment, Chromebooks, social-emotional considerations, collaboration models….

We often work and even think in isolation. Twitter and Google+ etc have helped provide me valuable insights and knowledge about teaching but some face to face sharing in smaller groups was a worthy experience. It gives me insight and context when I’m planning or questioning my practices. It is a joy to listen and share to professors, superintendents, consultants, directors, kindergarten teachers, or private school math teachers. It is a joy to finally meet nose to horns, with colleagues from our neck of the woods, but who I know only virtually online. It’s also fun to affirm that my virtual perceptions of them were close but so completely inferior to meeting them in person. It renders hope that connectedness enriches us but doesn’t replace the value in gathering once in awhile face to face. OMG I met @nsearcy17 librarian !

I shared a book, Quiet, by Susan Cain, because I know some introverted and quiet types can get drowned out by well-intended extroverted bulls like myself sometimes. EDcamps do help bring a smaller setting for some. Participants can respond or add to Twitter stream if they like. I think we could do a better job of generating some silent writing or sharing out methods next time? Maybe a Google form? Or a EdCamp blog invitation? It would be good to find some small way to compensate for the noise bull moose like myself might make while we stomp up and down the professional landscape foraging on the great education topics voted on by teachers 🙂

If you get a chance, attend an EDCamp near your neck of the woods.

Take Away:

1. Chrome books
@paulkellybc from Heritage Christian
Thorough demo and explanation of his school rollout of Google apps and $250 Chromebooks for senior students. Pretty sweet integration and student management opportunities. Nb. Also uses Moodle for courseware. Parent Permission forms. 25% of usual Tech service costs.
We discussed OS, platform, privacy, FOIPPA , apps issues.
#messyed great hashtag
Bottom line. They work very well for 90% of student activities.

2. Collaboration in schools. Don -District Admin. Penticton.
How to build teaching innovation, skills and capacity in collab way ? Culture? Set up Teams by topic:. Using collaborative models TF and others…. Adjust bells to build block times for teachers. Using 2 August days for early dismissal afternoons. Including some form of teacher created consensus and accountability important. School had mix of Short term and long term goals and time lines. See @nsearcy17 the collaboration deer

3. Integrating Technology . With Claire. Penticton district helping teacher.
Diverse group. Passionate topic and ideas for many. It cab empowering yet many teachers are overwhelmed with choices and technical obstacles.
Range of services from school to school and district to district a concern. Have or have not.
BYOD brings a need for planning.
Issues around Tech Dept vs Curric Dept. The need to have a curric road map is vital but difficult. Planning and skills dev tricky with rate of change. The average user/teacher now has computing power in his hands but not sure how to best use it? Not confident how to handle self-regulation/ devices with class management: there are mixed messages and value opinions in the community. Who’s job is it?

4. @Math_Johnson sucks 😉 LOL just kidding.


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. New York: Broadway Paperbacks, 2013. Print.


Filed under Education, Personal Learning Network, Professional Development, Reflective Learning

2 responses to “EDcampOK13- the unconference invades the valley

  1. @nsearcy17

    Hi Al,

    Thanks for writing this post. It was so wonderful to meet you and to connect the person to the twitter handle. I’m in the process of getting my reflections and observations down as well and I completely agree the with the highlights you mentioned. I was particularly impressed with the diversity of positions in education that were represented. I’ve also been reflecting on your mention of the quieter participants, and agree we can work to find better ways to guarantee their contributions within the edcamp format. I believe that one of the original purposes of the twitter backchannel was to allow an alternate and simultaneous forum for idea sharing, but as we both know- not everyone finds it effective. Carolyn also set up online google documents for people to record ideas from each session but I know that personally I was so caught up in discussions that I did not access them at any time, and I don’t know how well we advertised that option. So… the challenge remains to continue to improve the format to allow the maximum sharing of ideas and perspectives from all participants. I think I might experiment with a few things in my own classroom! Thanks again for joining us yesterday. I look forward to reading/watching some of the resources we discussed and I hope we cross paths again soon!


  2. Hello Al, thanks for sharing your EdCamp thoughts. I really enjoy reading people’s reflection blogs from conferences I’ve attended as it helps round out my experience. I find it helpful to hear what others have found to be meaningful. I appreciate the coles-notes feel you provided in your session accounts. Also, I enjoyed our discussion in the Chromebook session.
    Anyways, just also wanted to say that 11 years ago I had hoped to do my practicum at KSS. But, UVIC ended up selecting RSS for me. Who knows, had that been reversed there’s a good chance I’d be teaching Math at KSS today! That had always been my plan…as I’m on the wall there somewhere 😉
    Thanks again, Paul.

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