Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Experience of a Lifetime: Edcampss

Wow, what a rush! After 1774 emails and a dozen Skype calls, we made it happen. Edcamp Social Studies is in the books. I was so fearful that a subject specific edcamp just wouldn't draw people. Thankfully, I was wrong. All those nightmares of having Kenneth C. Davis speaking to ten people was just wasted energy. We had close to 100 people attend throughout the day and it was a huge success. To pull off a national edcamp is quite an accomplishment but it would never have happened without the hard work and dedication of the Edcamp social studies crew Jamie JosephsonAngela CunninghamSuzie NesticoHeather Kilgallon, Shawn McCusker, Greg Kulowiec and Becky Ellis. Sadly, Becky could not make it but her work with the group on edcampss was invaluable. I am grateful to be part of such a passionate, dedicated and ambitious group. Thank you to these outstanding educators. 
Jamie, Angela, Suzie, Heather, Shawn, Me, and Greg

Of course we could not have done any of it without the tremendous support of our amazing sponsors: Collaborize Classroom, Ed Tech Teacher, Diigo, Dipity, Edmodo, Edutopia, Finding Dulcinea/Sweet Search, Flocabulary, Herff Jones Nystrom/Stratalogica, LiveBinders, Milestone Documents, Poll EveryWhere, Science Leadership Academy, Simple K12SurveyMonkey, TCI, and TeacherCast. Interestingly enough it was Collaborize Classroom who were the first to jump in to sponsor us. I really appreciate the faith all of our sponsors had in us as educators and as an organization. We are blessed and amazed at the willingness of such great companies to support our little venture in education.

As I reflect on all that went into the development and organization of Edcampss, I can't help but think that without the technology of today, we all would have never met let alone worked together so well as a team. Two years ago along comes Twitter and we have the opportunity in our lifetime to connect with each other and look what happened. The creation of #sschat and the SSChat Ning have given many social studies teachers a place to learn and share virtually at any time. And with Edcampss there was an opportunity for some to meet face to face and extend the learning and sharing.

Choosing to have a subject specific edcamp was as much about the model for professional development as it was about the energy we generated as we talked and joked about it. The moment we had someone offer to sponsor us is when we all sat up and thought...Hey, we can do this. And we did and it was better than I ever expected. The only down side was the lack of time we had together. The upside was getting to meet so many outstanding educators. People came from all over the country and shared their best practices throughout the day. Kenneth C. Davis did a fantastic job with his Keynote and helped fulfill my dream of meeting him and getting not one but two of his books signed by him. Thank you, sir!

None of this would have been possible without the educators who attended this event in the city of brotherly love. Many traveled great distances to be there. Some flew in while others drove several hours. Thanks for your dedication. And a special thanks to Chris Lehmann and Diana Laufenberg as well as the student volunteers, especially Jeff Kessler. 

There were many great sessions as the session board filled up rather quickly. We actually added another room and it filled up in just a few minutes. I was able to live stream Mr. Davis in the main room and some of the sessions were recorded via Ustream and all can be viewed. 

Now that I'm back home and my education cup runneth over, I am on to many more projects and perhaps Edcampss2 is on the horizon. It may be too soon to tell but if our group gets to out!

Edcampss was definitely an experience of a lifetime. I just hope our group has many more in the years to come.


  1. Hi Ron,
    I loved that I was able to be a part of Edcampss virtually from New Orleans. I was contacted by Bill Krakower, to be a part of his Mystery Skype Call session. I also watched a session that you streamed. It was fun to see members of my PLN having a great time at your Edcamp.

    As an organizer of EdcampLouisiana which will take place on July 7 here in NOLA, I am stealing (I mean borrowing) some of your ideas. Thank you for your hard work and dedication and congratulations on your success.

    1. Thanks Paula! I'm so glad you were able to be a part of it. Some day we will get a chance to meet. Good luck with EdcampLouisiana.