a t-shirt. Well, that’s not all I got. I recently attended EdCamp Madison (WI) and enjoyed the day. It was held at Sun Prairie High School, one of the most beautiful schools I’ve seen. I joked with my friend Stuart Ciske, who lives in Sun Prairie, that his tax dollars are paying for a great facility. There was a large number of people at the event, over 150, and probably close to 200. Like most EdCamps, we got started in the morning by putting together the schedule for the day. There were 4 times slots of presentations and 8 options during each time slot. The sessions I attended (more in a bit on those) had at least 20 people in the room, which made for great discussion. I probably would have preferred 5 time slots based on the fact that there were over 30 presentations, but I shouldn’t complain.
The first session I attended was one I suggested. We discussed how to building community in your school and how to get more teachers connected. There were a number of great ideas suggested, but one stood out to me. When trying to get others involved with Twitter or some other educational network, show them with a distinct purpose. Don’t just show them Twitter on a random Tuesday and expect them to get it. They won’t. It takes time, some suggested a “30 day trial” knowing it’ll take time to build the connections. The main suggestion was to introduce Twitter around a specific event – a conference where you can follow a hashtag and see who is tweeting what. Or, during a scheduled #edchat. To me, this was a great takeaway. We also talked with the first time attendees in the room about how they heard about the event and what brought them there. Basically, it was the encouragement of a colleague. My take away from this was that we can’t just tell people about this online world we’re engaged in, but we must bring people with us.
I attended another session on Web 2.0 tools. I’m not sure why, but it seemed the best option at the time. The person organizing the session tried to create a Google Doc for us add sites to, but the shortened link they shared wasn’t working and they had trouble getting it working correctly. I tried setting one up for the group on my iPad, but I learned that my inexperience of creating and sharing a new GDoc on my iPad caused a delay. I eventually got it set up and shared with the room, but no one entered any of the sites. This was disappointing. I haven’t look at the doc since the session because the list is incomplete and there are no links to the sites or apps.
The 3rd session I attended was on Chrome apps and extensions by Chad Kafka and Tammy Lind. I walked away with a few new tricks and extensions that I’m going to try out. One that I know I’ll share with my daughter is Read and Write. It’s a Chrome extension that does text to speech, but only works with Google Docs. I already tried it out and it works great. I’ll share my thoughts on the others after test driving for a bit. Here’s the doc they shared for the session.
The last session was actually led by a school board member and the topic was how to attract and retain great teachers. I enjoyed this session a lot, but figure my thoughts on it deserve a separate post. Stay tuned.
Overall, a good day. It was nice to see some online friends I haven’t seen in a while and make some new connections with Wisconsin educators. I stuck around at the end hoping to win an iPad mini. It didn’t happen. I did, however, get a great EdCamp Madison t-shirt.