On October 15th, 2016 I had the great opportunity to attend the first EdCampUrban (@edcampurban) held at Union City High School in Union City, NJ. The primary focus was to bring resources, ideas, and the EdCamp experience to educators working in urban environments. This was surely a great experience of learning, sharing, and conversations. EdCamp Urban came to fruition due to the idea and hard work of the following great educators: Marcos Navas (@mrnavas), Bibiana Prada (@bookgirl614), Krista Welz (@kristawelz), and Dan Borghoff (@EdTechMaker).
Having attended previous EdCamps I knew how the day was going to work. It was both interesting and exciting listening and participating in conversations as we waited for the organizers to commence the day. The atmosphere in the room was of excitement. Educators gave up their Saturday to learn and share. A majority of the educators in attendance were first-time attendees of an EdCamp and many were not sure what type of experience was ahead of them.
As the organizers explained what the day was going to entail and how the day was going to work I saw educators interests grow. After gathering session topics from the educators in the room the schedule board was posted. These educators began to talk amongst themselves about which sessions they were interested in attending. Some in attendance were conflicted as they wanted to attend multiple sessions which were going on concurrently. They were given the advice to use the EdCamp motto of “the rule of two feet”.
There were a variety topics and sessions available for educators to attend. Some topics included: virtual and augmented reality, Tech tools for assessment, planning, and learning, STEM, MakerSpace, GAFE, Breakout EDU, and using Twitter to grow your PLN, etc. just to name a few. I was lucky enough to host a session on Breakout EDU. All sessions were well attended and the conversations flowed fluidly.
All three sessions I attended had teachers asking questions, giving suggestions, and offering advice. The EdCamp model of facilitating conversations was in true effect. One of the sessions I attended even went over the allotted time. Simply because the educators wanted more. The conversations continued into the hallway and media center during lunch and at the end of the day. It also continued on Twitter during and after the day.
Attendees were very happy with how well they were “taken care” of during the entire day. Breakfast and lunch were provided. Stickers and other trinkets were handed out as well. To top off the day the organizers raffled off a lot, and I mean a lot of prizes provided by vendors/sponsors.
EdCamp Urban was a great experience. The organizers did a great job planning an exciting and engaging day of learning for their fellow educators. A first time experience for most was ultimately a positive experience. I am sure EdCamp Urban made many EdCamp fans that day. Currently in the works is another EdCamp Urban slated for Spring 2017. I know I will be attending again.