Yesterday, I went my third EdCampPhilly. Here are my retrospectives on the previous 3. I could only go to half of the conference because I was attending a board meeting in the morning. I mostly focused on 1-to-1 programs and flipped classroom things, since that’s something we’re working on at my school. I got a lot of good ideas. It’s also interesting to see some of the differences between the way people approach different issues. Schools have many different kinds of constraints. I’m grateful to have relatively few, and to have so many colleagues who share a similar approach to teaching and learning. We don’t always agree, but we have good conversations around ideas. I always get something out of these.
Edcamp is like having those conversations all the time, and hearing from multiple viewpoints. I think it’s very important to get out and see what others are doing. It’s never good to stay in a bubble. It’s also good to talk to people face-to-face. Many of these folks I’m following on Twitter or reading their blogs, but it’s great to have more extended conversations around teaching.
Some of the highlights for me were a discussion of the shift that’s been occurring for quite a while where students have access to tons of information so don’t need us for the basic facts. The way I see it is we need to encourage teachers (our colleagues in some cases) and students to approach the classroom differently. In both sessions I was in, this was the main topic. We talked about flipping, 20% time, and other ideas for having students acquire basic facts from videos, texts, etc. and using class time in more hands-on ways. We talked about assessing differently and about having flexible due dates. As I’ve started planning for next year, these were good discussions to be a part of. We didn’t have all the answers, but we’re at least asking questions.