Friday, September 5, 2014

Edcamp Hudson Valley 2014

Edcamp 2014 was held in the Hudson Valley at Poughkeepsie Day School this year, and Children’s Media Project joined fellow educators in a fun day of learning, sharing, and innovation. Conferences like Edcamp are perfect for CMP’s educators and staff because they give organizations like CMP the opportunity to showcase our expertise when it comes to incorporating various technologies into an educational setting. With that said, CMP strives to be a successful and working example of the concepts and ideas presented in each session at this year’s Edcamp Hudson Valley.

Edcamp is an annual educator (un)conference where participants work collaboratively to present and share their innovative ideas geared toward empowering educators with the latest tools. Edcamp is a (un)conference because, unlike a conference, there is no schedule of events and it is purely volunteer/participant driven. In other words, you, as a participant, control the conference.

The day started bright and early with a delicious breakfast that was sponsored by local vendors. The communication aspect of the conference is one that is unique to Edcamp as each session was taught and updated virtually by those who decided to present their ideas.

During morning check-in, those who wanted to present a session of their choosing signed-up as a presenter. Each presenter was responsible for their sessions theme and content. Interesting fact: the session board remains blank until the volunteer presenters registered and selected their session time slot. Throughout the morning, the live session board, which was accessible from Edcamp Hudson Valley’s website, was gradually updated with the day’s sessions. The great thing about having a pop-up session board was that each session was essentially a surprise to the participants until the morning of the Edcamp. Each session was focused on implementing various social media and communication based programs - texting and google suite, for example - to the classroom. The innovative part of the conference was that the participants were allowed to plan their day by selecting sessions based on their interest level and there was no obligation to sit through an entire session. Who doesn’t love a “Guilt-free” policy when it comes to education? This allowed each participant to gain the most out of their Edcamp experience.
Our very own Director of Education, Mary Ellen, presented two sessions: incorporating Twitter into the classroom and collaborative classroom writing using Google docs. 

The session on incorporating Twitter into the classroom detailed the benefits of using Twitter as a research tool and method of communicating this research with the students. 

For example, a classroom twitter page allows students to create hashtags that will enable them to tweet research findings or a simple update that is relevant to class discussion.

Other sessions included a presentation on incorporating instagram styled photography into lessons plans to encourage students to think critically and outside the box. Also, for tech newbies, there was a session on applying basic technology - Google suite, Celly and to the classroom for organizational and communication purposes.

The day ended with a “smack down” where participants could stand up front and share what they learned at Edcamp or present an idea that wasn’t mentioned in the sessions, further apply the learning, sharing, and innovation theme of the day. Overall, the CMPers had an amazing time of sharing and connecting with fellow educators at Edcamp Hudson Valley and would like to say Thank-you to all the volunteers whose hard work made it happen! 

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