Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Reflections of The Un-Conference Experience – EdCampATL & Beyond

By Jamie Vandergrift

This post originally appeared here. Article and photo are posted with permission of the author.

Long time, no blogging! Yes it seems my last blog was also about EdCampAtl, in promoting the event, and here I am now reflecting upon it. To be honest, my blog has hit the back seat in comparison to my digital newsletter. In the last few months, I have wanted to become more connected to my audience, see more analytics, and understand who I was talking to, and what they wanted to hear. I have made the shift from the classroom educator, to the speaker, coach, trainer role full time. In doing so, communication sure changes, and so sorry dear blog… I have neglected you!

With my professional shift, one might ask how I so heartily still jump at the chance to pour months of work into a totally free event, especially now that I get paid to do similar tasks. The answer to that is quite simple I must say… I am a teacher at heart, and boy do we love all things FREE! :) Seriously though, I must say that I see the need for edcamps and the philosophy behind them. EdCampAtl, as well as PadCampDallas, both served a very different purpose in the professional development realm. They hand over the learning to the participants, and as a result the take away by attendees always yields better results. Follow any edcamp or padcamp hash tag weeks and months after the event, and see all the tweets about what attendees are NOW doing DIFFERENT, all because of that experience.  Honestly, my commitment to edcamps most certainly make me a BETTER consultant. I won’t ever go into a school without knowing what the teachers in that building want and need. While I honor the vision of the administration, and will do my best to do as asked, I also want to design what I do to give the teachers who are working with me the content THEY want. It is essentially the merging of consulting, with the values of edcamps, which in my mind will only send more of those I meet along the way to edcamp events close to them.  I would love nothing more than to be a part of the changing vision of professional development for educators in the days to come.

If perhaps you are interested in the tech tips and tools I send out each Tuesday morning, you can sign up for my digital newsletter here - - And if that simply isn’t enough… I post daily to my educational technology Facebook page, which you can find and LIKE here - And as always I tweet as @jaimevanderg …. Google + Hangouts are also my new happy place. (A side effect of now working from home without co- workers) …. Find me & Hangout with me there! I love to discuss all things educational!
Also feel free to guilt me into a guest blog post for you… As that tends to bring me back here to just flat out say what I think!

About the author: Jaime Vandergrift is an educator, speaker, trainer, and unwavering believer in the power of effective integration of instructional technology. Jaime has spent years building experience through trial and error with digital tools in her own classroom, as well as delivering professional development to other teachers with interest in educational technology. Jaime knows that digital learning is not contingent on school budgets, or hand-held tools. She knows the time and effort it takes to create digital learning plans, and assists districts, schools, and teachers by developing how to effectively integrate educational technology using the tools present in each individual learning environment. Jaime serves as a director of EdCamp Atlanta, and was the founder and co- chair of PadCamp Dallas. She believes effective professional development is the most important factor in implementing innovational educational practices in schools today. 

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