Tim Merritt is an Educational Technologist Specialist at Georgia State University. His specialty is helping people understand how technology can work for them through workshops and one-on-one training - from image, sound or video editing to taming the quirks in Word.
I work in the College of Education at Georgia State University and do multimedia production workshops, other workshops on technology of one type or another, as well as apps on devices, MS Office, and more. I came to EdCamp Atlanta yesterday morning hoping to learn some new things about technology in the classroom among teachers from around Atlanta.
I got what I hoped for and more. By the time lunch was over, my brain hurt... in good way.
Teachers came from metro Atlanta and all over Georgia, even from Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida. They came from public schools, private schools, charter schools, home schools, and even other universities. They brought outstanding technology skills and experience. I learned about desktop and mobile apps for classroom response, classroom management, video creation, communication management (going paper free, connecting via sms), and more, much more.
I love that EdCamps are "unconferences." They're free - no cost at all - and the loose structure, with questions and relevant digressions welcomed, makes for a relaxed yet intense atmosphere. I'm not the first to note that at conferences and schools much of the significant sharing and communication happens at the back of the room or in the hallway:
"Hey, did you see this?" [Whips out device/phone/laptop/tablet, shows off app/site/example]
"No - that's great... Hey, I could do XYZ with that!"
That's what an EdCamp fosters every minute. No one is a keynoter, everyone has something to share. As much as I learned, one of the best things is the SMACKDOWN!, a general group session after lunch. Anyone can show the group, in two minutes or less, a great app or site or service that they use that could be of value to others. Links to all of them are written up in realtime on a Google docs page so everything from Smackdown is easy to find later on.
EdCamp Atlanta captured much of what makes going to any conference worthwhile. I forged new relationships, found new opportunities to volunteer and coach, and to keep on learning. I will not miss the next one!
EdCampATL on Flickr