Saturday, November 23, 2013 was one of the most memorable Professional Developments events that I have ever been a part of. It was our second Annual #edcampNJ. We had 296 participants in attendance. It was amazing that so many educators from 10 different states were so passionate that they showed up on a Saturday morning to learn from one another. What makes this so special is the group of educators that I have had the chance to work with for the past year planning our second edcamp after such a success with our first. We have a wonderful group that ranges from a student teacher to several superintendents of schools. To plan #edcampNJ we conducted hangouts, texted and sent e-mails throughout the year. Watching it come together is truly incredible. I am proud to be a connected educator and work with this great group of people. They are all inspiring and some even humorous.
My day started at 3:30 am when I started to prepare everything for my day at #edcampNJ. My wonderful wife who is so supportive joined me for the one hour drive. When we got to Linwood Middle School at 5:45 am Brad Currie was there to help set up and prepare for #satchat. We unloaded the car with all of the supplies for breakfast and then started to get ready. Brad, Scott Rocco, and myself were doing another live #Satchat at 7:30 AM. #Satchat is a Twitter chat where educational leaders come together on Twitter to discuss a topic. I am happy to be a co-moderator of this wonderful chat. We started to set up for that and the breakfast. The room filled slowly but there were many educators there by 7:30 AM for the live chat including some from Long Island, Wisconsin and Connecticut, just to meet in person the #Satchat crew. We did a Google Hangout On Air with Daisy Dyer Duerr, a principal from Arkansas, and discussed Free PD which was a great topic to talk about at an edcamp. We had guests who included Joe Sanfelippo (Go Crickets), Sharon Plante, Tony Sinanis who are all leaders in education. Feel free to view the live session here: http://youtu.be/oN1g5iqoAQs.
Introductions began and we started our day. What is incredible was by the time #Satchat ended at 8:30, the session board that was completely empty when we were setting up was filled and we had to add extra rooms. This just shows the passion educators have about what they discuss. During the first timeslot I did a session with one of my Google Hangout Sunday night collaborators, Jessica Bamberger. Our session was “Google Hangouts: Its Elementary” and we were able to discuss all the wonderful projects we have done. After this session I walked around making sure everything was going well and taking pictures and even listening in on a few sessions. At the end of #edcampNJ we held the Smackdown which has become customary at all edcamps. This is where everyone shares a website or app that they find useful in the classroom. Then of course we gave away our grand prizes which were two chromebooks and continued to network after the event at the neighborhood Chili’s.
Feedback included: Why isn’t all professional development like an edcamp where you get a choice of what session to attend or present? (Here is what our schedule looked like for the day: http://goo.gl/r62WwT. ) So many others stated how much they enjoyed meeting face to face with so many of the educators they interact with on social media sites throughout the year. Others commented on the connections they made and will build thanks to meeting like-minded educators at #edcampNJ.
Personally, I want to thank my fellow #edcampNJ organizers and sponsors who made this one of the most successful #edcamps. It was such an incredible day and I look forward to planning with this group again for next year’s #edcampNJ which will be held on Saturday, November 22, 2014. So mark your calendars and plan to attend this memorable day of learning.