EdCampWest – How the West was won

It has been 21 hrs since the end of EdCampWest and I think I have digested all that there was to offer. The topics discussed were diverse and well received by the attendees and everyone seemed to leave wanting for more.

First session topics

  • Why twitter
  • iPads in the classroom HELP!
  • 21st Century learning
  • Project based learning

Second session topics

  • Critical thinking skills using new media & devices
  • The flipped classroom 
  • Tech for communication
  • What does tech enable us to do that we couldn’t before?

Third session topics

  • Digital responsibility and citizenship
  • Personalized learning vs individualization vs free agent learner
  • Best ProD practices
Twitter goes Star Trek

Of these topics, Twitter seemed to be the darling of the dance. We had a whack of people whose resistance faltered and they were quickly assimilated into the continuum of twitter.

For the most part people wanted to know how they could use it to build their own personal learning network or PLN. There was some discussion around classroom use but it was secondary to the discussion about the Power of Twitter as a ProD tool.

The second big topic of the day was ProD. By the end of the EdCamp people were setting sights on next year and what they could do for their own schools using an EdCamp model or were planning to encourage colleagues to attend one of the many EdCamps being planned for next year.

It was good to see so many educators feeling good about a ProD event. What’s more, there was a call for further EdCamps and SOON! The positive energy in the room was palpable, something that is kinda foreign to me.

As we came to a close, some of the statements people shared included: “I am going to get more involved in ProD next year…” or “I am going to get involved with my school’s ProD committee again!” or the most flattering for the organizers. “This is the best ProD I have attended in years!”

The third favoured topic seemed to be “Critical thinking skills in the age of digital media” People were discussing how to get kids to think critically about all the information they are bombarded with these days. Although we didn’t come up with any definitive answers the group seemed to come to agreement with the notion(s) that in today’s world, critical thinking is attached to ownership of learning and that being a producer of digital content rather than a consumer of digital content encourages critical thinking. At that point I got up and left the discussion because I couldn’t stop “contributing” to the discussion.

Undoubtedly there were other topics which were “hot” but I could only circulate so much and probably missed a couple of things.

The other thing I found interesting, was the dynamic that combining K-12 with Post Secondary created. I found that the Post Secondary educators approached the discussion topics from more of a theoretical angle, “What does this mean for learning?” and the K-12 educators approached the topics from a more pragmatic angle, “What does this look like in my classroom?” Both equally valid approaches but I was taken aback by the distinct difference of views.

With that said however, I think that having these two groups together was valuable and should continue to be a guiding principle of EdCampWest. Next year I think it might be a good idea to try and engineer some bridging-topics that force participants to take a common viewpoint.

That is all I got. Hope it was useful.

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