edcampHOME: Batteries not included

I’m still on an information and energy overload from edcampHOME.

When I signed off on grades in early June, I couldn’t wait to sit and vegetate for several months. TV series and books populated long lists of stuff to tackle in my newfound spare time. With no travel plans on the horizon, this was going to be the Summer of Awesome Laziness in which I would recharge my much-depleted batteries on the couch or in the backyard.

I found Twitter instead. I filled my time with blog-reading and Twitter chatting and endless tab-opening. I voluntarily logged hours of professional development that dwarfed anything I had done before (except perhaps the Institute for Writing and Thinking at Bard College). And I won’t receive any compensation or credit for any of it.

Then came a late-night(-ish) tweet from David, retweeted by Karl, about the last ticket for something called edcampHOME. I snagged it, on a whim.

The morning of the event, I drove to school to sit in my classroom and dual-screen the Twitter and Google Hangout madness. My fingers flew faster than I could logically keep up with as I waited for the first sessions to begin. The feed scrolled three times as fast as any Twitter chat I had previously followed. And then it was time to begin session 1. I waited, then waited, then grew impatient. The hangout wasn’t materializing. These weird, cynical, mean-spirited thoughts crept up, akin to the ones I’ve felt at traditional professional development functions. What a waste of my time. Knew this wouldn’t work. I could be doing anything other than this.

Then a way in shone through the clouds. I hopped into the hangout with about 15 minutes to spare. Alice, Curt, Audra and I discussed inquiry-based learning, but I know I was also simultaneously trying to prepare for session two. The conversation was good, and then it stalled a bit for lack of more voices to answer questions.

Session two meant “facilitating” for me. The awesome Joan invited me into the hangout early, then proceeded to set everything up to invite attendees. We scored two, then were ready to roll, to go live. I hadn’t even thought about the live aspect during the first session because I had just wandered in late. Session two felt so much more “real” – and that’s not to say that my session one was bad. (In fact, I went back and watched the logged conversation from before I entered, and it was a much better conversation indeed! Maybe that says something right there…) The 25-30 minutes flew by as I caught myself talking too much about something I had very little experience with, then listened instead. I am so, so glad I listened. Nick and Joan and Michelle had much to share, and I left the session feeling exhilarated and inspired.

But there was no session three! Grumble! Moan! Whine!

Enter the slam. Karl invited people to hop into the main hangout to quickly slam on a topic or idea or product. I had very little to say, but I didn’t want it to be finished. So I found myself saying quite clearly what had gone on for me the whole day – I had found energy, comfort, and excitement about something for which I had previously had nothing but anxiety and apprehension.

That’s just the thing, I guess. The whole event didn’t need to be a rollicking success with respect to timelines and digital flawlessness. All it needed to be was an organic, true learning experience. I had not had one like it in far too long. The way it made me feel was on par with some of the best sessions of seminar courses I ever took, where as I walked out the door I couldn’t wait to get home to read or re-read or write or research.

Thank you, edcampHOME, for proving that even though I haven’t had quite the Summer of Awesome Laziness I had devised, my batteries are recharging nonetheless.


Endnote: When David asked me if I “had learned something today,” I could hardly keep from laughing live on-air because the first thing I thought of was South Park.

3 thoughts on “edcampHOME: Batteries not included

  1. Colin,
    I know what you mean about relaxing summers – they’re out the window now that you’ve found educators on Twitter!

    Anyway, what I love about EdCamps is that you can be in a room with 30 people and talk about your favorite subjects, or ones that you would like help with. But EdCampHome… There was a man from South Africa in the Genius Hour hangout I facilitated!! Granted, there were two other ladies from IL, but… Robyn was there from British Columbia, too! And the moderator was from California! Now you don’t find THAT at any other EdCamp…! Side note: I also learned more about the “behind the scenes” that I’d ever want to know about how our four pioneers ran this memorable day.

    Thanks for writing about the day, too – I think we all felt a need to document such a spectacular event! History in the making, for sure. Good to see you in the smackdown at the end!

    1. Thanks, Joy. It truly was an inspirational event in many ways. Glad to have been a part of it. I remember smiling as the mods were trying to find a facilitator for Genius Hour, and (I think?) Karl immediately volunteered your name. “Joy can do it!” And then there you were to sign up for yourself, too. Cheers to your enthusiasm and welcoming spirit.

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