Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What is an EdCamp? Part II

In my previous post, I offered an overview of my experience at EdCamp Detroit. Well, it did not provide the entire experience. I still need to share my presentation and the wrap-up of the unconference - that is the purpose of this post.

I called my presentation, Collaboration between College and K12 Classrooms: Win-Win-Win-Win. It was essentially based on two of my prior blog posts: one dealing with using technology to support distance learning and my dream to reclaim assessment from politicians and testing companies. Earlier EdCamp Detroit sessions on technology and collaboration also gave me some resources. Mostly, though, I wanted to listen to the participants' experiences and ideas about ways to consolidate our efforts to improve education.

Consequently, my PowerPoint was fairly bland. The version provided here includes backchannel comments from Kristen Fontichiaro (@activelearning) who tweeted much of the session. I am grateful for her contribution.

After my initial remarks, I opened up the conversation to the participants. Some of the College-K12 collaboration experiences included: Preservice teachers acting as substitute teachers and an Autism Center in Novi partnering with a local university. Kristen also made us aware that the University of Michigan is already exploring a lab school.

The new ideas generated were wide ranging. A member of the local college faculty suggested that her students could hold extracurricular classes to address K12 students' interests. A high school social studies teacher thought that it would be helpful for college students to describe the process for entering and succeeding in college to potential first-generation college attendees. Participants also suggested using Skype as a way to provide homework support, using college students to staff existing projects like Destination Imagination, and teaming college students with National Honor Society students in mentoring younger students.

I am sure there were other ideas that I missed (always the problem with making a list). Several times I found myself so engaged with the conversation that I forgot to take notes. I would ask that you please add any other suggestions in the comments.

While these ideas were amazing, it was the connections that I made that I found most meaningful. I now have contacts across the state. Tech-savy contacts that I will tap this coming fall when I have 60 preservice teachers in need of experience working with real K12 learners. I went from my session to wrap-up filled with ideas and hope.

EdCamp Detroit ended with a summary of the day, another brief Skype session with Dan Callahan at EdCamp Boston, and door prizes. What sticks with me most is a question asked by Nick Provenzano: "What if your next Professional Development day was an EdCamp?" Well? What if...

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