Twitter + EdCamp = Professional Development 2.0

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Mrs. Marino at Mobile Mania

People get tired of me talking about Twitter, but I can’t help it.  It has changed the way I look at my career and has opened up endless possibilities for me.  I have met people I would have never met; I have gone places I would have never gone.  I’ve seen lessons and ideas for my classroom that I would have never seen.  My 4th graders Skyped with Canada last week for goodness sakes!   That’s major.  My excitement for Twitter really grew last year when I went to iPadpalooza.  (GO IF YOU CAN!) It was an amazing event that opened up my eyes to the potential of professional development.  I had the chance to see people present that I was following on Twitter.  They were just as amazing in person as they seemed on Twitter.  Real teachers making a real difference in children’s lives.  I mean @techninjatodd, @SAtechnoChic, @iPadSammy, @TechChef4U, and @mimg1225. Seriously!  They inspired me.  They gave me wonderful techniques and tools to take back to my class.  I left there on fire and wanting more.  When I returned home I was up late not able to sleep, searching through my Twitter feed and @CarrieRossTx mentioned something about an EdCamp.  Well, I had no idea what this was.  I asked a few questions, it seemed cool, so she helped me get signed up, I invited @NicotreSherri and off we went.  We arrived at Region 6 to a ton of smiling faces.  I can’t even mention them all, but they made us feel at home.  And then the awesomeness of an EdCamp ensued.  The plan is…there is no plan.  Teachers sit around comfortably in a room chatting about what they want to learn.  Did you get that?  WHAT THEY WANT TO LEARN!  EdCamps are tailored toward teachers!  Ideas are tossed around, people raise their hand if they can informally present on a topic, and then a schedule is made.  The irony of it all is that teachers like schedules.  They like to know what is going to happen.  They want a plan.   So how does this chaotic, unplanned, unprepared, organic mess work so well?  I don’t know.  But it does.  It was one of the best days of Professional Development I have ever attended.  I went to the classes I wanted to go to.  And if I attended a session and decided that it wasn’t for me.. I  just got up and found  another class.  No one’s feelings are hurt.  No one cares.  Everyone just goes with the flow, and you learn SO much!  It’s fun, it’s laid-back, it is AMAZING!  We left there excited that day with new ideas to take back with us.  And we wanted to learn more.  I have attended so many great workshops that I would not have because of that very first EdCamp.  Mobile Mania, Google Ninja Academy, etc.  @WISDtechguru and I even taught TechCamps at our own district this summer.  That’s a whole other post.  So, what does this all mean?  If you are in a slump as a teacher (it happens) go to an EdCamp.  Go to iPadpalooza.  Go to anything Google.  Learn something new that excites you because if you are excited, your students will be.  My next EdCamp that I am attending will be in April @EdCampHouston.  It’s going to be a wonderful event with a ton of motivated and excited teachers ready and willing to present.  I can’t wait.  Also, if you are from my neck of the woods (oh, yes I did just say that) @janamac is planning an EdCamp Region 5.  When this happens…COME.  Come and learn.  Share and grow.  Be awesome.

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