I want to start this post by saying that I am feeling overwhelmed right now with all of my new learning and the way I have started using technology in my PLN. I have a bunch of blog posts in my head and am trying to filter them so that they are relevant and useful to people who may be reading, rather than just spewing thoughts from my head as they appear there.
On Saturday I attended EdCamp Hamilton with my colleagues from the AQ course I am currently taking with Brenda Sherry (Integrating Information and Computer Technology in Instruction, Part 1). I had never been to an event like this before, and I honestly have mixed feelings about it.
For those of you unfamiliar with the EdCamp model, it is what is referred to as an “unconference.” Basically, you show up to the event with some ideas of what you would like to discuss with like-minded attendees. Everyone meets at the beginning of the event to pose their questions, and then the questions are posted on a schedule. You choose the discussions you want to join, and everyone contributes. There is no leader.
There are, however, organizers who set up the event and run things on the day. For EdCamp Hamilton, we had a great team of organizers, who did an absolutely amazing job. The event ran smoothly, and there was a great turnout. Lunch was delicious, the space was great, the scheduling was done quickly and efficiently, and the organizers were extremely helpful.
I first want to say that since joining Twitter I have met so many educators online, and the best part of EdCamp for me was seeing a bunch of them face to face. However, I was a little outside my comfort zone, and therefore didn’t talk to many people or introduce myself to them. In retrospect, I think this is the problem I had with the EdCamp model.
I took part in some great discussions with some amazing educators, doing amazing things in their classrooms. But I don’t think I enjoyed the event as much as I could have, simply because I was more reserved and introverted than a lot of the people in attendance. I also missed having someone to lead the discussions and present a visual to accompany my learning.
In short, I’m not sure what this model can really offer that I can’t do on Twitter or by reading blogs. Yes, it’s nice to chat with people about what they are doing in a face to face atmosphere, but how is it really that different from a Twitter chat? I think I prefer the traditional conference model, although I do recognize that my reserved attitude on Saturday may be to blame. Perhaps if I had put myself out there a little more and introduced myself to more people, I may feel differently right now.