I spent Saturday at Edcamp Philly, an education-oriented unconference. If you don’t know what an unconference is, it’s a conference model where presentations are not planned in advance; people just throw up topics the morning of the conference. I’ve been to several of these, and I like them because the sessions tend to turn into conversations rather than be someone talking at you. I even gave a presentation myself on Google Docs.
My first session was on 1-to-1 programs, something we are thinking about. The issue many of us see is that there are now a ton of different devices–laptops, iPads, Android tablets–and many kids have these devices. What they’re seeing in school is antiquated. What schools can afford to provide is often older versions of these devices. On the flip side of that are schools where students don’t have access to that, but it’s still a good idea for the school to provide these devices so that students can do their work at home and at school. The solution I gravitated toward was one where students brought what they wanted, and through a virtual machine (VMWare more than likely), the school provides the specialized software. We’ll see what happens.
I attended an interesting session on Professional Development, and I’m happy to say that what I’m planning for our school will likely be something teachers will get a lot out of. At least I hope so.
I was telling people how last year, I felt like a deer in the headlights at this conference. I’d just signed my contract. I had no idea what the school would be like, no idea what teaching K-12 would be like. And now I feel like a pro. I still have a lot to learn, no doubt, but I no longer feel like I’m facing the unknown. I have strategies and ideas, many of which have come from having the kinds of conversations I had at edcamp. Like last year, though, it left me feeling like I was ready to tackle it all.