Yesterday my wife and I attended EdCamp Fort Worth, hosted by Timberview Middle School in Keller ISD. We were able to stay for the first 3 of 4 sessions, and it was GREAT! This is the first official EdCamp I’ve attended besides EdCampOKC, which I helped organize in February. I attended a TeachMeet in Memphis several years ago, as well as a couple of the “EduBloggerCon” events before NECC/ISTE in the past. All of these “unconference” style events have been outstanding chances to learn and network with other educators. EdCamp Fort Worth was no exception. Here are a few highlights.

First, for the serious stuff. What a thrill it was at EdCamp Fort Worth to not only dine at breakfast in the morning with THE EdCamp Crane, but also witness Jon Samuleson‘s joyful (and touching) moment of reunion with EdCamp Crane as well. If you’re not already, follow the crane on Twitter @EdCampCrane. (To earn the privilege of being the crane’s official human escort, you need to be the person who traveled the FARTHEST at an EdCamp which the crane attends.) Following EdCamp Fort Worth, the Crane is headed for North Carolina!

A Special Moment with EdCamp Crane

Jon Samelson Greets EdCamp Crane

There were a couple of organizational things I really liked about EdCamp Fort Worth that I hope we can adopt for EdCampOKC next February. First, they handled the session grid creation a little differently. Rather than have people write session ideas directly on the grid, as we did, organizers asked people to use sticky notes. Ideas people had for sessions they wanted to attend were written on yellow stickies, and sessions people were willing to lead/facilitate were written in pink. Then organizers put stickies in groups, and as common themes emerged took those topics and wrote them onto the session grid.

EdCamp Fort Worth Brainstorming

Session grid at EdCamp Fort Worth

The other thing the organizers did differently, which I really liked, was use the free mobile app and website “Guidebook” to share the day’s schedule as well as other essential information. Participants were able to download the app in advance, and upon launching it the app downloaded “updates” including new sessions, and text updates the organizers wanted to share via a “push message” that displayed on everyone’s device. It worked VERY slick!

Guidebook app

One thing I noticed at this EdCamp was how buzzwords and technology tools tended to be very popular sessions. It’s easier and more common to find teachers flocking to sessions about “any iPad app,” Twitter, or a tool like Edmodo than a session with a title like “Engaging students with multimedia projects.” Of course any session can happen at an EdCamp. It seems true, however, that “tool-based” sessions tend to be among the most popular. This fact makes it important for those sharing at those sessions to try and focus on student learning with technology tools, rather than simply the functions of the tools themselves.

EdCamp Grid (2)

The highlights of my day, EdCamp Crane encounters aside, were being able to attend an educational conference with my wife and getting to hear Matt Gomez share about how he uses social media tools to better connect with parents in his kindergarten classroom. If you’re not already following Matt on Twitter (@mattBgomez) remedy that situation immediately. He’s a fantastic educator and digital sharer, and someone you definitely want to continue learning from on a weekly/daily basis.

It was great to hang out with and meet many other educators at EdCamp Fort Worth like Wendy Sanders (@kenya75), Stephanie Cerda (@Ms_Cerda), and Todd Nesloney (@TechNinjaTodd). Attending a Texas EdCamp made me miss the TCEA conference (which I haven’t attended since 2005) as well as look forward to EdCamp Dallas on October 12th. I’m not sure I’ll be able to attend either of those events, but hope I will. There are so many outstanding educators doing innovative work online with students in Texas!

Here is a Storify timeline of most of the tweets I shared at EdCamp Fort Worth yesterday. I also included a few other related tweets that were either replies to things I posted or ideas I responded to. Twitter is definitely the #1 information sharing platform to use and embrace at an EdCamp! Check out the official EdCamp Wiki to find an EdCamp you can attend soon near you!

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One Response to Learning Together at EdCamp Fort Worth (July 2013)

  1. curbyalexander says:

    This sounds like a great event. I will have to mark the next one on my calendar and try to attend. Thanks for posting, Wes.

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