If you ever get the chance to experience an edcamp, grab it. I attended my first on Saturday, June 1, and was blown away that such high-quality PD event could be put together locally without costing a dime for participants.
Of course, no one pulls off a crazy good event like this without a lot of hard work, so thanks up front to the thoroughly capable and creative EdCampWPG organizing committee and all the volunteers who made this possible.
We had attendees from as far away as Thompson, Thunder Bay and Minneapolis. Some even flew.
The Randy Bachman Commons at West Kildonan Collegiate was wide-open, welcoming - and the perfect place to kick things off.
First order of the day was breakfast.
Miles MacFarlane, () the instigator of the event, teaches in Seven Oaks himself. He explained the edcamp concept and took care of the housekeeping details.
Maria Nickel's keynote on how she is getting the first ever science experiment created by Canadian students up to the International Space Station was brilliant - filled with passion and determination.
Next on the agenda was...well...creating one. Miles asked people to take a quick minute at the mic and talk about what they wanted to learn or teach. Those ideas, also scribbled on cards, made it onto a planning board, and in short order ended up as sessions in a master agenda on a Google doc. If you lost the link, you could just scan the QR code on your nametag.
The unconference format of an edcamp turns the organizing of a traditional PD event on its head. Instead of the day being organized for you - or at you - it's organized by you and with you.
Think of it: Most of the cool sharing and connections that happen at conferences happen outside the formal sessions - over lunch, at coffee and in the parking lot. At an Ed Camp they also happen in the sessions themselves because they're all free-wheeling conversations around themes that people have chosen themselves and are passionate about. Great way to get save money on jet fuel and get right into sharing with your peers.
Why is an app smackdown such a great part of an event like this? Because you can demo and trumpet your favourite app in front of other participants - but you only get two minutes. Makes for many brisk presos and, by the end, an awesome list of apps to check out.
The sessions themselves were replete with ideas, tips, leads and great conversations. So much variety. so much learning took place. I taught how to tweet her first picture. Pretty cool, I'd say.
When the smackdown started I hopped up to the second floor to get this vine of explaining Scoop.it. Hit the link below to see the six-second looping video.
Here's playing with an app called Quipio that I got to demo. How come my quips never look this much fun?
As for reviews, here's mine...
Of course, Miles had help - and everyone recognized what an extraordinary job they did.