Friday July 10, 2015 was a day of great change and innovative learning for school administrators and school leaders in North Carolina. #edcampldr came to Raliegh, North Carolina. While this was not the first #edcamp hosted in North Carolina it was the first to target school leaders, primarily school administrators. Most of the audience was comprised of principals, assistant principals and central office administrators but there were also plenty of teachers represented. #edcampldrNC was also part of a larger world-wide network of other #edcampldrs. While #edcampldrs were held across the continental US as well as China and Chile, this was the local endeavor to join the worldwide discussion and grow our skills and competencies.
#edcamps embrace a fundamental question – what if the participants determined their learning path? It is a great opportunity to come to a learning event and either start or join a conversation that answers a question specific for the attendee. We were very fortunate to have an eager group of attendees that arrived early and began building the board before the event was kicked off. Our board building was evidence of the power of informal learning in that attendees new to edcamps learned about the building the board from crowd discussions. This marked the beginning of a great day.
Several things stand out that made this day learning and connecting truly outstanding:
- The Planning Team: This is the third edcamp I’ve helped planned and I have been fortunate to have been part of this same core planning team over several years. Each member is not only a contributing member to my PLN that helps me grow, but they are fearless risk takers. We went into this event with a simple goal of creating a day of learning for every school leader in North Carolina (#bhag)! We pushed each other to think bigger with everything including learning spaces, talks, guests and numbers. At the heart of this day was this great group of people
- The Attendees: The great conversations, new connections, laughs and sharing could not have happened without the great educators from across North Carolina who gave up their Friday to join other educators in this unconference. For many, this was a new endeavor they learned of from social media which made this endeavor somewhat a risk. But all are to be commended for their courage and participation because all the discussions were a great benefit to attendees. Their energy and contribution made this a great day.
The Friday Institute: An edcamp is only as good as the venue that hosts it and we were fortunate to have been allowed to have ours at North Carolina’s own innovation/research, innovation lab at NC State. @FridayInstitute hosts many events and designs learning activities for educators throughout the year. We were fortunate to have had three members, Nancy Mangum @nmangum, Greg Garner @classroom_tech, Mark Samberg @mjsamberg to be part of our planning team and the #edcamp was fortunate to have several other staff members from the @FridayInstitute to join and participate in sessions. Thanks again to the @FridayInstitute.
- Dr June Atkinson, North Carolina State Superintendent of Instruction: Having the state’s highest ranking educational official give an opening talk to set the tone for our unconference and to sit in a session as a contributor and learner gave validation to our attendees to the power of the unconference and informal learning. Her message was on point – embrace the change that is happening everyday.
- Great Groups Gathered: I was very impressed by the the number of groups that showed up Friday. It was refreshing to see that many were here with others from their schools and districts to share thoughts and conversations. What a great opportunity to build up a team.
The worldwide #edcampldr experience, including #edcampldr backchannel, is happening Monday July 13th. This is a great opportunity to join or continue the learning and turn the global connections from our PLN into personal ones. For those who attended Friday, I encourage you to follow the hashtag and join in some discussions. And for those who couldn’t attend, what a great opportunity to connect with other leaders worldwide.