So many layers to #edcampHOME

It goes without saying, I’m a big fan of edcamp.  When #edcamphome came through my Twitter stream, I thought Hhmmm… interesting.  I wonder how that’ll work.

Layer 1: Figuring out my technology

The directions page for this event was lengthy.  I clued in to the part about the tabs to have open and ready: Google+ edcamphome community, my Google+ page, my email,, and Twitter/Tweetdeck/… Got it.  Then I wondered about my Chromebook microphone’s ability to pick me up with a family’s Saturday morning going on in the background.  At work, I use a headset… but it was safe and sound at work.  THEN I had the weird flash that my work gmail only allows GHO within our domain… with no time to test it out, I DM’d LS_Karl and asked him to swap my info to my private gmail account.  Then I rushed over to see if that Google+ was up-to-date and aesthetically pleasing… sheesh Catina, try to focus.  Did I mentioned all this was happening in my 11-year old son’s room?  And I was trying to poach an egg for breakfast!?!?

Notice: Lego Hobbit set plus D&D charts on the wall

Notice: Lego Hobbit set plus D&D charts on the wall

The lessons: Get your technology in gear.  I use most of these tools and devices from work, meetings and conferences.  I don’t (as a general rule) work from home.  But I quickly realized my own go-to environments were limiting.

And get up earlier on EdcampHOME day!



Layer 2: Amazing Organizer Observing

Just watching David, Kelly, Karl and Shawn was inspiring.  I can’t even imagine the set up Kelly was staring at… and to work with that much stealth and not furrow your brow… nice.  Clearly these four had their roles down pat.  And calm.  It’s my experience that we have our shortest fuses when it comes to technology.  Not sure why that’s the case when we allow so much slack and futzing with other areas of education.  But we got rolling, with a mention here and there about how much smoother this was going than the first time around.  A call was made for moderators, Tweets were tweeted, retweeted and answered, Google+ questions were answered, lots of general calming for all those tuned in and worried we had missed something.  So inspiring.  I can barely type in my username and password successfully when folks are watching.   And Kelly’s use of multiple scripts to make the forms work… wow!

The lesson: Always take on challenges.  You can do it.  Stay calm.  People don’t need to be in a rush.  Learn more scripts!  I use a few and know how useful they are, but every time I make one, it’s like learning it all over again.  The thing is, I don’t need many (yet), but what I realized today is that I WANT TO KNOW HOW and with facility.

Layer 3: The sessions

How was this going to work?  I saw the list of participants and got excited to meet some of my Tweeps, but then I remembered, it’s not face-to-face.  So no casual conversations.  Got it.  The logistics were slick.  I made my choice, waited for the GHO invite and got started.

Session 1 was all about edcamp at school.  We stuck to edcamp as PD, and I learned a lot.  Numbers matter.  Work time (Monday through Friday) vs. free time (weekend) could be a tricky but critical piece.  Including students is a bonus and something to strive for.  Why not open it to other schools nearby and follow the original spirit of edcamp–open to all.  I connected with @jafilosa and @SuzanBrandt who have taken the plunge with staff.  Perfect.

Session 2 was Virtual Fieldtrips.  I’ve been looking for a good intro with staff to get them thinking about these and skyping or GHO with other classes, etc.  Scott Bedley suggested I take the staff on a virtual fieldtrip–demo the ease of set up, benefits and fun.  Brilliant.  We shared the Connected Classrooms Google+ community, mystery skyping and the GHO equivalent.  We circled the question of connections to virtual fieldtrips to enhance the learning–blogging, outside research, ??? The consensus of the group was to allow the experience to stand alone rather than beat a dead horse and make some requirements because we feel like we have to.

The lesson: People rock.  And as I’m oft to say when thanking folks for a follow on Twitter–There’s always a lot to learn.

Layer 4: The Slam

My family was needing some attention by 11:30 but who doesn’t love a good slam!!?!!?  I said goodbye via Google+ and went to see what the boys were up to but I heard (from my son’s room where I was set up) the mention of Maps Engine…. I totally got sucked back in.  I LOVE Maps Engine.  It’s Google Maps made interactive & collaborative.  That’s it–the kids have to wait.

Snagit, calling out states yet to host an edcamp (and offering support for those interested), Hey Girl… it was a great wrap up to a morning of learning.  I’m bummed I walked away even for a few minutes.

Lesson: Don’t ever miss a slam.  SLAM!

Layer 5: Post Edcamp with @mspiercetweets on Twitter

Markette tweeted that she was watching session 1 and wished me luck with edcampPD for staff.  I told her I just needed to take the leap and stop over-thinking it and worrying about the negative people.   Markette shared it plainly:

Screenshot 2014-01-04 at 8.42.47 PM

Perfect.  That’s just what I needed.  I know negative people are always in the crowd and why they take a majority of my energy is beyond me.  I want to focus on the #LearnersGonnaLearn crowd.  Done.  That’s the lesson.

The closing moments of #edcampHOME got me a bit teary.  It really is when such a diverse group (knowledge, role, time zone) of people pull together for mutual benefit and learning that humanity looks its best.  Four people clearly dedicated many hours, moderators (experienced and first-timers) stepped up to the plate, folks set aside a Saturday morning (a beautiful, potential-kayaking Saturday morning here in Petaluma) and everyone had so much to share, contribute, link and questioin.  There were even folks watching the HOA sessions live (I think).  Wow.  I want to always be involved with the workers… get yours hands dirty and do it.  I find it inspiring.  Thanks @LS_Karl, @davidtedu, @coachk and @swpax!




3 thoughts on “So many layers to #edcampHOME

  1. Beautifully written post, Catina!

    I know what you mean about tearing up at the end. It was such a collection of dedicated educators working together, supporting one another. And the calm teamwork that @LS_Karl, @davidtedu, @coachk, and @swpax demonstrated was calming to me. I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to connect, but their demeanor helped me calm down. I loved it!

    Good luck with your own work with teachers! I like your motto!


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