Monday, May 20, 2013


Saturday was my second visit to #Edcampphilly, and I had a great time and learned about so much.  Most notable about this time around was that I actually got up the nerve to present something.  Yes, it was in a large group of presenters, but it's saying something that I got such gumption.  We shared thoughts on Flipped Classroom, Paperless Classroom, 20% Time, and Edmodo.  Here's our Session Doc, and the Q and A was run via Today's Meet (at the bottom of the Session Doc).

In the first session, I participated in a discussion about Being Kind Online and using the fantastic novel Wonder as a starting point for those discussions.  I found some great resources (shared in the Google Doc), but also got some great ideas for parenting my young elementary school aged son.  It really got me thinking about the idea of Googling yourself---everyone always says you should do this, but I've been so very nervous to do so.  It all started way back when ratemyteacher was new.....  I need to figure out how to develop a thicker skin, really.

In the second session, I did a little bit of session hopping.  I finally settled down in Gerald Aungst's session "Preventing the Zombie Apocalypse," where there was some great conversation happening about how teachers can keep students engaged in school!  Gerald started the conversation with his own sons to demonstrate the ways that grades and scores don't really measure a student's engagement in the content.  Some great conversations here about engagement and what schools do/don't let students and/or teachers do.

We had a fantastic (though hurried) lunch down the street at Picnic.  It was a ten minute hike there and another ten minutes back, so we had to eat quickly in order to prepare for our third session presentation.

I think on the whole, our session went really well, and I'm really proud of all of us!  We had too much to talk about, though, which is the problem of cramming four different people into one short presentation space.  Our time was more of a presentation with some Q&A time; had we had less topics to discuss, we could have structured it more like a discussion.  The good, though, was that we shared a lot of our thoughts and materials on the session's GDoc, so everyone could check them out at will rather than us having to share them on the projector.

Finally, I ended up in a conversation about Doing What's Best for Kids without Getting Fired.  Interestingly, the conversation went in the direction of opting our own kids out of state tests and the movement of folks doing so.  This was not really a problem solving session of any kind, but rather, a sense of validation.  Everyone in the room expressed that he/she is an outcast at work, so it's refreshing to be in a room of "crazy people" who are all trying to do what's best for kids and embracing some new methods that don't necessarily involve worksheets to do so.

Here I am in the Smackdown, sharing the great Financial Literacy/Being a Good Human Being website,, and looking slightly less dorky than at EdcampNJ.
Edcamp Philly 2013
Photo by Kevin Jarrett,
I love the conversations that happen at these events.  I love the ideas, I love the backchanneling, I love the networking.  It's exciting to be surrounded by educators who are on the cutting edge of what is happening in schools in the area.  This style of Professional Development, where you're learning about or talking about cool things in classrooms, where you're participating (and not necessarily exclusively in a "turn to your partner and share your thoughts" kind of way, where you can feel free to leave a session that's not meeting your needs, where you're surrounded by people who want so much to be there that they are coming to do PD on a Saturday, is completely amazing.

Check out the archive of all the #edcampphilly Tweets, compiled by Brad Currie.

PROPS to the Edcamp team!!

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Thanks for learning along with me!