Yesterday, I had the opportunity to participate in my first ever virtual edcamp. (For those of you wondering what an edcamp is, I wrote a little bit about my previous experiences here.)
EdCampHome is different from other edcamps in that it’s not a face-to-face in person experience. All of the sessions took place over Google Hangouts On Air. Session topics were suggested in the days prior to the official event, and registered attendees voted on which sessions they wanted by giving the recommendations a +1 in our Google+ Community. This determined which sectionals would run during the conference. When the conference started, the initiators were given a Google Drive folder with different documents and instructions on how to begin each session.
I was a little nervous about volunteering to be an Initiator/Host of the two sessions, as I’ve only hosted a Hangout On Air a couple times. The sign up process was easy, and I’m so proud of my refurbished computer (on which I’m experimenting with my first Linux install) for handling the multiple tabs and video streams.
My first session was about Student ePortfolios. It took me a while to figure out how to get everyone properly invited, but I think the session was productive. Big props go to Michelle Stein for sharing her students’ digital portfolio. We talked a lot about using Weebly sites vs. Google sites. Since I’m doing a Computer/Technology class for 6-8th graders next year, I’m strongly considering the creating of an ePortfolio for them to show off their best work. The challenge for this session was to keep people talking. As a mostly-introvert myself, it was a little awkward for me, because I felt like there weren’t many people engaged. Maybe most of them were just there to listen! Hopefully everyone was able to take away some good ideas. We then moved on to session two.
Session two brought me to a talk on Tightwad Tech. This session felt a lot more comfortable to me because there was natural conversation happening. We talked about some good tools that we use in our classrooms that are cheap/free like KidBlog, some apps for iPads, and addons/scripts like Doctopus and gClass Folders. I even shared in a peek of Google Classroom, even though I haven’t had more than 24 hours to play around with it much. (That’s a future blog post!) Big thanks to Chris and George for the great discussion that we had!
I look forward to the 4.0 iteration of edcampHome, and I’ll encourage anyone who wants some good summertime PD to virtually attend!