Life and Times of the Sharp Family

1000 Days of Thankful...and Counting

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Day 932 -- nErDcampBC

My husband and I embarked upon a journey of epic proportions this spring when we decided we wanted to organize and host a conference for teachers to help them learn and grow from other teachers using the Edcamp model.  For those of you unfamiliar with Edcamp, here is an excerpt directly from the Edcamp website that explains what it is:

Edcamp is a form of unconference designed specifically for teachers and their needs.
What makes Edcamp an unconference? Unlike traditional conferences which have schedules set months in advance by the people running the conference, Edcamp has an agenda that’s created by the participants at the start of the event. Instead of one person standing in front of the room talking for an hour, people are encouraged to have discussions and hands-on sessions. Sponsors don’t have their own special sessions or tables, all of the space and time are reserved for the things the people there want to talk about. People could pay hundreds of dollars to attend another conference, or they could go to Edcamp for free.
Built on principles of connected and participatory learning, Edcamp strives to bring teachers together to talk about the things that matter most to them: their interests, passions, and questions. Teachers who attend Edcamp can choose to lead sessions on those things that matter, with an expectation that the people in the room will work together to build understanding by sharing their own knowledge and questions.
Colby, with his passion for reading and literacy, and his growing connections with educators in that area, wanted to give our Edcamp that emphasis.  We called it "nErDcamp".  Colby asked 6 others to join our team.  Pretty soon, we had a website (nerdcampbattlecreek.blogspot.com) and attendees signing up using Eventbrite.  
This morning, we had nearly 160 teachers from 12 different states come to Lakeview High School for nErDcamp.  The hashtag #nErDcampBC was trending on twitter due to the amount of tweets coming from participants during sessions.  People from around the world followed with live streaming in the session rooms and collaborated on a Google Doc that allowed everyone to see what was being discussed in each room (if you click on the linked text, it will take you to notes that were taken in that session).
The nErDcamp team in our sweet blue t-shirts.
The shirts included our twitter handles on the back!
The whole process represented a significant amount of time, energy, and effort (in addition to a considerable amount of stress), but in ended up being extremely rewarding. Once the ball was rolling this morning, we had a blast.
It was amazing to see something go from an idea that my husband and I talked about on the couch when snow was on the ground come to fruition today.  We made a pretty fierce team and it was fun to work together, each utilizing our different strengths during the process.  I am so thankful for the experience, I am so incredibly grateful for the supportive/patient team I got to work with (which included my aunt!), and I am totally ecstatic that we actually pulled off a successful event.  
Thank God for nErDcampBC!
Lord, thank you for helping us to put this together today.  Thank you for the opportunity it allowed us to work with each other and with dear friends.  Thank you for all that we learned in the process, too.  In your name I pray, Amen.