This week's post is by guest blogger, Anne Kenneally
Timed to celebrate the end of 2012 and launch into 2013 in style, Educampchch2 dawned on the first of December. We gathered in Riccarton Community library, on a busy Saturday. It was fascinating to see the sheer volume of library traffic go through in one day. This library really is the ultimate learning environment—from babies to grandparents, engaging in ‘library learning’.
Passionate educators gathered from across the sectors, early childhood through to secondary, and across New Zealand from Mosgiel in the deep south to Whangarei in the far north. With a mix of newbies through to educamp groupies we kicked off with a three-word intro. From this wonderful icebreaker we moved to the SMACKDOWN, a two minute sharing. The real beauty of this is an opportunity to listen and establish connections for discussions as the day progresses. This clip really does say it all: what is ordinary to one person can be amazing to others. The power is in the sharing and the building of opportunities around the use of a tool, an approach, an opportunity for collaboration.
A break for coffee allowed for time to reflect, connect, network and share, and establish discussion groups for the day.
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata…as with all educamps the wisdom really is in the room. The openness, expertise, and sharing throughout the day allows for all to learn and grow at their individual level. Taking the learning, shaping the learning, networking, and imagining possibilities for 2013 proved this event to be well timed. In the midst of the end-of-year chaos, the connections and possibilities realised leads to very exciting opportunities in the new year.
One of the wonderful aspects of educamps is the potential for everyone who attends to leave with at least one new idea/link/tool/connection to take forward to the next year. The twitter family grew as new tweets were welcomed to the Twitisphere from within the Educampchch2 group, and from our PLNs.
Discussion groups throughout the day realised opportunities around Myportfolio; iPad set up, use, innovation opportunities; Aurasma; Daily Five and CAFÉ; Biblio Commons; Literacy; gadgets; app harvesting; mobile learning potential; Twitter; social networking; community learning and collaboration.
The real MAGIC is the participant-driven, unstructured nature of an educamp. There is no time pressure. There is abundant opportunity for sharing and growing the potential of opportunities. There is time for discussions as and when the need arises. There is an open, collaborative, sharing, and real face-to-face connection.
As we move forward, the challenge now is to maintain connections, grow the network, sharing, and realise the power of the educamp philosophy. How could we take this unconference into our own learning environments, our staffrooms, our classrooms? How good could it really be if we shared, connected, networked, and allowed for the wisdom of all to be shared, valued, and built on?
For the Mainland, we now move towards the inaugural Educampwest at Greymouth on the 23rd of February and the inaugural Educampqueenstown on the 13th of April.