Monday, September 10, 2012

#EdCampAtl It's all about the Learning..

I went to EdCampAtlanta this past Saturday to see what I could see. I didn't have a lot of expectations for me specifically since I'm not a 'teacher', though I do have my kids at home during school. I wanted to know what an un-conference was, and I wanted to know what I could do to help out both my kids and the kids/families I work with. What I came away with will keep me busy chewing for a while.

The day started with individuals electing to 'lead' discussions on various topics. Several spoke of things they'd recently discovered, some shared what they've been working on. I rolled the dice for the most part as to what I actually went to and have to say I came up pretty well.

Having two kids in a virtual charter school and myself working for a different virtual charter, I'm aware of a lot of what's possible. What I didn't know was what the teachers were doing to take advantage of those things. Brick and mortar doesn't operate the same way, in general, so it was interesting to find out what has changed in some schools. There are still quite a few, though, that are behind what other would consider the 'norm'.
To find out that some schools (middle/high) have the kids actually utilizing their cell phones as part of their lessons was spellbinding. I love that! They're going to use them any way, why not take advantage of it? These same teachers are starting to use twitter to get conversations going among their students both in and outside of their classrooms. Wonderful! They're also utilizing a multitude of sites to get the kids to collaborate on projects and research.

What was really cool, though, was sharing the ways and means of getting the kids involved. To get the teachers connected, use what the kids use and to keep it flowing. I'd love to see more schools start encouraging this interaction among the teachers AND the students and then see what we can ALL learn in the process.

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