Thursday, March 31, 2011

Simply Amazing - My Thoughts on EdCamp Omaha

This past weekend was amazing. In a number of ways. First of all, it snowed. Which isn't terribly abnormal, except we had tornados in the area three days before that. That sequence fits into the old (read: I'm tired of it) saying about Nebraska: "If you don't like the weather, stick around for a while."
But this weekend was really amazing because I got to be in the same building with seventy highly intelligent people who were able to give up their Saturday, brave the weather, and share all the cool stuff they know. It was sometimes difficult to tell the difference between who'd been an educator for 30 years or 30 weeks. Everyone contributed. Everyone made a difference. 
Since last weekend, I've seen that difference being taken back to the classrooms. Through Twitter and a few other meetings I've attended this week, I see and hear people sharing what was shared. It's the exact reason we did EdCamp. We wanted people to come and share and learn. And they did. We ALL did. From the 70 people in person to the 15-20 that were regularly online to those checking out the #edcampomaha hashtag to the who knows how many more who've been watching our recorded sessions, we are sharing the great things that we learned. Why? Because we care about the kids that we teach. We want to do a better job. We are good at what we do, but we can still learn from others and others can learn from us. It's amazing. I mentioned at the end of EdCamp that EdCamps are important places because it's where rich, meaningful conversations begin. But it's all for not if you don't continue those conversations when you get back to your classrooms. There is often a hangover when you get back to the "real world" and find that not everyone is as like-minded as those that you spent your Saturday with. But that's when you turn back to the EdCamp Community - the Twitter feed, the blog posts, the recorded sessions - and recharge your "edubattery" (hat tip to Dale Holt).
On Saturday night a group of us went out for supper and someone (my apologies for not remembering who) made the observation how positive the vibe at EdCamp was. I hadn't thought about that until then. It wasn't all cupcakes and sunshine, but the focus was less on what's being done to us and more on what we can do to make our learning environments better. I really think that's when change happens. When you stop complaining and start the process of moving forward. But Becky Goerend said it best at the end of her blog recap - "Where's the action? Where do I go from here?" That's not easy to answer. Hopefully we can turn our conversations into actions. 
A heartfelt thank you to everyone who made the day such an amazing event. 

There have already been talks about similar events in Nebraska and we will definitely be getting the word out about EdCamp Omaha 2012 in the future. Check out the EdCamp wiki for the upcoming EdCamps in your areaWe will be adding more reflections of EdCamp Omaha to our wikispace.

Again, thanks to the EdCamp Omaha planning crew, the College of Ed at UNO, and, most importantly, even who had a part in making the day simply amazing.


CAMprinc1 said...

Josh: Thanks for doing an amazing job hosting and it was a great experience. I was only there for the morning session but made a half-dozen new contacts and was able to re-energize for the last couple months. Next year I hope to be able to network and get to know more people and come with a presentation idea or two.

Thanks again

J Allen said...

Thanks for your comment, Dominic. I appreciate you being able to come for as long as possible. And I look forward to your presentation next year!