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Edcamp Leadership BC

I recently attended Edcamp Leadership BC with Tyler and Humaira. It was the second edcamp I attended (I summarized my first visit here). Like last time, I arrived in Delta at 9 am on only four hours of sleep so lack of sleep seems to be a trend for me the night before an Edcamp event… I forgot to prepare a topic to discuss and I was eager to discuss what do grades mean? Unfortunately no one else had proposed any similar topics related to grading.

My first workshop was Learning in the Digital Age. I thought the time could have been better spent discussing ideas. We watched a couple of lengthy videos (relative to the one hour we had for the session) that depicted how technology and social media were used in one teacher’s classroom. Furthermore we spent a fair amount of time discussing the technical details of running a class website (eg student emails, privacy issues, parental consent etc…). We also went over some assessment for learning practices:

  • clear learning intentions
  • student generated criteria
  • quality descriptive feedback
  • inquiry and asking good questions
  • self and peer assessment/feedback
  • ownership of learning

The second workshop was Strategies for Differentiated Learning. I hadn’t encountered the concept of differentiated learning so I decided to attend that session and see what it was about. The problem is every student is different so in any given classroom, there will be some students who are struggling with the curriculum while others find the material too easy and therefore lack the motivation to learn. Different students have different strengths and weaknesses so one way to address this is to have them present what they have learned in different ways. For example students can choose to present their understanding of Shakespeare in the form of a skit, painting or rap instead of the traditional essay. I didn’t realize it until the discussion, but I was lucky to have high achieving classmates in elementary school. Even in grade two, they went and learned a lot beyond the curriculum and shared that knowledge with the rest of the class. They did that without anyone asking them to and that motivated me to go beyond the curriculum as well.

The third workshop was 21st Century Learning and Teaching with Technology. This session was unique in that a student facilitated the discussion (I like to think of him as mini-Tyler). He mentioned teachers have to be better instructors in that simply lecturing on material is taking time away from student discussion and learning and that it’s ok for teachers not to have the answers to everything (ie it’s important for learning to be a two-way street). We also discussed the importance of self-regulation with regards to cell phone usage (ie refraining from checking one’s phone while in class) since banning cell phones in classrooms isn’t an effective practice. At the core, everyone, not just students, needs to learn how to prioritize things and internalize them. Banning cell phones is not going to change the fact if one values the importance of staying connected with friends over his or her education in a given moment.

The last workshop was Things that Suck. We had to pick sides (for, undecided, against) for various educational issues such as grades, standardized curriculum, bring your own device, use of Facebook as a classroom learning platform etc… Unfortunately there was very little opportunity for discussion. I will blog about these topics sometime in the next year…

I enjoyed the day very much. Unfortunately I noticed the same problems the previous Edcamp had. Again I was hoping for a bit more in-depth discussion and a more diverse crowd (the majority of the participants were teachers). Similar to last time, everyone I talked to assumed I was a teacher. It would be great if more students and parents participated in these discussions. For the next Edcamp I will make sure to prepare a topic beforehand so I can lead a discussion! Also check out the accounts of other participants who attended Edcamp!

EDIT: Also check out Edcamp Leadership BC by Tyler Nelson. He mentioned several points I forgot to…

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Categories: Education
  1. December 1, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Thanks for sharing your reflections from Edcamp. I agree it would be nice to have more non-educators participating in discussion. However. It was encouraging to see that a diversity of backgrounds were represented. There were roughly 12-15 students, 4-5 trustees, a few people from the community and a handful of parents who participated. We also have to keep in mind that many of the educators in the room were also parents.
    I guess the real question is how do we get more non-educators to participate. Honesty, I think the answer is ‘word of mouth’. People like you and me need to share our experiences from Edcamp with others and encourage them to join us. Thanks again for coming. Hope we see you at a future edcamp!

    Aaron

    • December 5, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      I agree word of mouth is a good way to get more participants. It would be nice to have parents who aren’t involved in the education system participate as most likely they have a different perspective than those who are involved (ie teachers). I look forward to the next edcamp!

  1. December 1, 2012 at 11:05 pm

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