after returning from the inaugural EdCamp Atlanta. We thought it would be an interesting look back at where EdCamp Atlanta began.
In April of this year, a friend informed me that a team of educators were looking for more folks to join
the planning committee of a new-ish type of professional learning conference called EdCamp.
EdCamps have occurred in many cities around the country, but 2012 would be the first that one
would be held here in Atlanta. From its website, "Edcamp Atlanta is a free “un-conference”
committed to reaching educators in public, private, charter, and higher ed environments to share
innovative instructional strategies and pioneering technologies that transform education for all.
I eagerly went to the planning meeting and was impressed by the dedication and energy of the other
attendees. Unfortunately, I had a major accident about a week before the second planning meeting.
Since I was down for the count for about 9 weeks, I was obviously unable to attend or contribute
much to the planning process. Nonetheless, I still made plans to attend the actual event and even
promoted it in my school district and on Facebook.
Several days ago, a friend asked via Facebook if I was going to present. At that point, I was undecided but was leaning towards "no". Even this morning, that didn't change...until about 3 different people (who I met at the first planning meeting) asked me on separate occasions if I was going to present. I sat by myself and thought about it for awhile, but eventually gathered up enough courage to sign up!
Those of you that know me know that I have NO problem presenting for colleagues or strangers.
BUT...every session I've ever presented has come with the opportunity to spend HOURS - not
MINUTES - preparing. Few things excite me more than spending a whole hour selecting different
fonts to use in the presentation! But EdCamp is different - the sessions are determined on the spot
and delivered on the fly. That's stepping waaaaaaay out of my box - but I did it, and rocked it! :)
"So yes, I'm going to present!", were my words to my school district's Associate Superintendent (who
arrived while I was still contemplating) and the fellow planning team members. Of course I'd cover
iPads, but I need a sub-topic...quick! In my humble opinion, you can't TEACH with iPads until you
get a grasp on how to MANAGE a school (or class) set of iPads. So I spent the next 10 minutes
jotting down 'Things to Cover'. I signed up to present during the third time slot. I sat through two
other brave souls' sessions, then it was showtime.
My session was well-attended and I covered everything on my list. I believe it was delivered in the
true EdCamp format - my session's attendees often jumped in and shared how they manage iPads
too. I received lots of great feedback from the attendees. But the highlight was the fact that my
Associate Superintendent, a) popped into my session twice even though he actually chose to attend
another session during my same time slot, and b) tweeted about me and my session afterward. I
felt a strong sense of pride and accomplishment when my time was up.
Cutia Blunt is an administrator at The Galloway School in Atlanta and an EdCamp Atlanta organizer. You can follow Cutia on Twitter at @appsforclass.