EdCamp Citrus 2011 Recap

EdCamp Citrus 2011 Recap

“To be a Geek or Not be a Geek…”

EdCamp is a new grassroots movement happening all around the United States.  EdCamp Citrus started in 2010 by Educational Technology Specialist Jerry Swiatek.  The goal of Edcamp Citrus is to bring educators together to discuss technology that works in the educational system. It’s a conference for educators, by educators, and the participators are those that give presentations of technology at the event.

The opening presenter was Silvia Tolisano (http://www.langwitches.org/blog).  I first learned about Ms Tolisano by reading a blog posted on Larry Ferlazzo’s site (http://larryferlazzo.edublogs.org/).  I then shared what I had read with EdCamp Coordinator, Jerry Swiatek. Jerry responded to me with the following, “Thanks for this. Langwitches (Silvia Tolisano) is going to be at EdCamp Citrus 2011.”  Needless to say, I was VERY excited about both the planned education session and of the opportunity to meet her.  Ms. Tolisano is a wealth of knowledge, and I encourage educators to visit her blog.

I not only attended, but loved the conference, because not only was I in “Geek Educational Heaven” but it was great for educators that are generally so busy with their day to day work and activities that they often times don’t have an opportunity to sit down and learn, collaborate, and fellowship together about the technologies used in our schools and with our students.

I attended the following sessions:

Session #1

Enhancing Learning using Multi-Sensory Techniques – Handwriting, Reading and Letter Sounds by IPS’s own Jackie Howard.

Session #2

Twitter is Terrific for Educators (Susan Bearden and Cybraryman- www.cybraryman.com)

While I do twitter a little, I learned more about how to get the most out of it.  Susan and Cybraryman taught how to use Twitter to expand your Personal Learning Networks (PLN).  They explained that when you first start using the PLN system, might have a group of 10 colleagues in your Networks.  Over time, from attending conferences, and district meetings, that number might grow to around 100 PLN email contacts.  Added to that, if you’re on Facebook, your list of contacts might even grow to 100s of people on your PLN.  But with Twitter you can have 1000s of potential PLN contacts in a matter of minutes.  That gives you 1000s of teachers that have often struggled with whatever challenges or ideas in the classroom you have dealt with also.  This could possibly give you the potential for collaboration and brainstorming together for possible solutions.

Session #3

Building your own PLN – Personal learning network (Silvia Tolisano @langwitches)

This was one of my favorite sessions because I had the opportunity to hear Ms. Tolisano speak about how to use technology to expand the classroom.  She talked about “CSI Twitter” where students use their iPhones and SmartPhones to explore and take pictures of “natural evidence”.  For example, they can take pictures with their “smart phones” of sticks, bugs, vegetation, etc. that they find around their campus.  They can then use the photos to demonstrate a collection of evidence for specific projects or other types of school assignments.  In one case they found a bone and used the iPhone’s camera to send the picture to a University where the university students helped the high schools identify the specimen.  She shared that when students, and/or teachers, use Twitter to communicate, people at the other end don’t’ necessarily know if the originators are young, older, male, female, ESE, or handicapped, etc.  Using the PLN system helps to put learning on a more even playing field.

What a great day! From the free breakfast and free lunch to the giveaways and interesting sessions, it was non stop fun and learning

Plans are already beginning for EdCamp 2012 so look for it and plan to attend.

Web Sites Shared at EdCamp:

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