1.The idea of edcamp.
I have been in love with the concept of edcamp since the very first edcamp Denver I attended in 2013. As time has passed, instead of falling out of love with edcamp like some passing fad, that love has strengthened. As a result of that first edcamp, I have been exposed to so many more conferences; InnEdCO, ISTE, GAFE Summits, etc.
However, while I enjoy each of these conferences, edcamp is my true love. This free event, that welcomes everyone, encourages everyone to lead as they feel comfortable, and avoids sponsor presence becomes more precious each year.
2. The edcamp Foundation
I had the wonderful opportunity to attend an edcamp weekend in November and I continue to be impressed by how the edcamp Foundation continues to grow while maintaining it’s core mission.
edcamp-in-a-box: Planning an edcamp of your very own? You can get the core start-up supplies mailed to you from the edcamp Foundation and their generous donors. Get post-it notes to create your very own session board, name tags, markers, stickers, and a check to help you purchase food and supplies. Whether your edcamp is a veteran or a new creation, edcamp-in-a-box can help you get things off the ground.
edcamp Impact Grants: Did you find something awesome at edcamp that you want to pursue but are lacking the funds? Apply for an edcamp Impact Grant up to $1,000 to support furthering your classroom dreams! I had the opportunity to review grant applications last quarter, and the ideas that people had gotten from edcamp and wanted to put into practice were so deserving of funding.
3. I love working with edcamp sponsors.
For the past few years, I have been responsible for working with our edcamp Denver sponsors. I have loathed fundraising and sponsorship for my entire life, but working with our edcamp Denver sponsors has changed my outlook. When you find the right sponsors, that truly understand and support your event, it’s fantastic.
I am always blown away by the response when I start to contact our sponsors. They are kind, open, and prompt in their responses. They understand the joy of giving prizes to teachers who have dedicated a chunk of their weekend working on big questions in their classrooms and in education.
Some people think I’m nuts for taking on edcamp sponsorship, but what they don’t know is that it brings me joy to know that there are organizations and individuals out there who want to support educators. It’s easy to forgot amidst the media and the intensity of day-to-day teaching, but there are people rooting for those of us in the classroom. Thanks edcamp sponsors, you rock.
4. Fun new tools for work and for play.
I always find new things to bring back to the classroom, to use in my personal life, or that I just love knowing about. Here are the highlights from edcamp Denver 2017.
Stackup: A Chrome extension to monitor what you are reading and how much you are reading. The results from the first weekly report were fascinating.
GIFit!: A Chrome extension to turn any YouTube clip into a gif!
The Noun Project: It is next to impossible to find fantastic Earth Science icons. So here comes this beautiful website with more icons and images than I could ever use. I cannot wait to make some new infographics with these!
Buffering the Vampire Slayer: I love podcasts and I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So when a wonderful friend introduced me to this Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode-by-episode rewatch podcast, I was hooked.
5. The unexpected discussions.
I always attend sessions I love, but it’s always a moment over a donut, or in between sessions, or at happy hour that blows my mind. This year’s wow moment came from talking with Sean Wybrant, Colorado’s 2017 teacher of the year. He dove into discussions at edcamp and asking questions at happy hour that were thoughtful, challenging to consider, and exciting.
He got me thinking about the role of the teacher of the year, the voice of teachers in Colorado, and what kind of message educators might want the public to hear about the work their students are doing. I am still thinking about this conversation days later. I am looking forward to seeing the amazing things that Sean does as teacher of the year. If you would like to nominate someone for Colorado teacher of the year, click here!
6. edcamp changed my life.
When I attended my first edcamp a few year ago, I wasn’t sure that teaching was going to be a sustainable career and needed something to revitalize my love for teaching. edcamp not only resparked my love for teaching, but brought new ideas and practices into my classroom, and got me thinking about sharing my classroom at conferences, starting with an edcamp.
A few years later and I am a happier and balanced educator, my kids are learning more, I am taking reasonable risks with new teaching practices, and sharing the joy from my classroom at local and national conferences. I never would have imagined this path for myself, but I couldn’t be happier this is where I ended up.
7. Last but never least, the people.
This is the crux of my edcamp experience; it’s home. I love the people that attend edcamps. No matter which edcamp I attend, I love to meet new people and connect with old friends.
I’ve found my teacher tribe and they are the gift that keeps on giving. Thanks for your sharing your ideas and your fears, for pushing me out of my comfort zone, and supporting me no matter what. I hope that I have been able to do the same for you.
- If you haven’t been to an edcamp, find one near you and put it on the calendar.
- If you have been to an edcamp, share the reason that you love edcamp in the comments!