Kathy D. Shields
Creek View Elementary
f you have wandered over to this blog in your quest to uncover details about the intriguing and unusual phenomenon of EdCampATL, then I suspect that you value your time. EdCampATL will surprise and delight you by allowing you to follow your interests and growing in ways you never thought possible. It will be time well spent. It isn't so much about the technology. It's about an unencumbered way to learn, share and build a professional network. It's about forming relationships, extending yourself and experiencing the unexpected. You will come because you feel the need to be connected, not to like-minded individuals, but to people who think differently, who challenge you assumptions and who offer new possibilities that will help you transform your teaching abilities. It's a little like Hogwarts for teachers!
Some of us hunger for the opportunity to lead, to create and to inspire. Others come to develop these skills. Whatever your perspective, if you are open to change, EdCampATL is open to you. On the other hand, if you are content with your methods and find no need for change, then you will become very anxious indeed by the whirling energies of educators moving and adapting their views and styles of teaching to address the ever evolving educational landscape. So whether you come to be amazed or come to ignite the fires under the wide-eyed hopefuls, you will be transformed. You wont be able to look at the role of technology as simply a tool used to meet an evaluation requirement. You will see technology as a way to extend not only your thinking, but to expand your students' learning horizons.
How do I know this? Why am I so sure? I have been in your shoes. 10 years ago when as a second career teacher I was plunked down in a 21st century model kindergarten classroom, I was driven by the desire to help my students get the most out learning in a new, nonlinear way. I attended the first ever PodCamp NYC, the first ever PodCampATL and SoCon a social networking conference held annually at KSU. I was focused on podcasting which was new at that time. I attended conferences wondering what I might be able to contribute. What did I have to offer? As it turns out, everyone has a different set of stories to share. Each one may serve to illuminate others, and even in the telling, you may have some new revelations of your own. I attend GaETC and have even presented at ISTE, but an unconference is the part of any large conference that we love the best. It's the part where we all just share real-life stories, seek advice, connect out classrooms and help each other as we find new ways to adapt teaching to the new forms of learning that seem to enter our classroom like unpredicatable meteorites. Prepare yourself, prepare your students; give yourself the opportunity to do what you want your students to be able to do; expand your mind. Regain your natural love of teaching by recharging yourself amidst a sea of transformational thinkers. I for one, can't wait to meet you!
EdCampATL on Flickr