About a year ago, two very excited educators in our district asked to meet with the librarians in our district. Erin Griffith was the assistant principal at the Ninth Grade Center and Natalie Hansen is the NGC art teacher and their Teacher of the Year. They came in talking fast & were very animated. :) Both of them described themselves as edcamp addicts and shared that they would travel to any edcamp that was near! They had the crazy idea to host an edcamp in Weatherford. I usually jump right in with crazy ideas, so I was listening. Plus, their excitement & passion were contagious! We talked logistics, dates, and locations. The main thing we needed was district buy in, as this would need to take place on one of our campuses, and we would need technology support. They were hoping for a spring date, but innovative ideas often take a little time to digest, so the date was pushed to the fall of 2014.
Many people in education are familiar with edcamps, especially if you are a connected educator on Twitter. But to some, it is an unfamiliar concept. Here is a description from The Edcamp Foundation's website:
Planning began and Erin & Natalie found more people to help organize. There were now people not only from our district, but neighboring districts and one person from a district more than 2 hours away! Luckily, we are all connected, so planning the event went virtual.
To represent our community, Natalie created an awesome logo with a peach (Parker County is known for peaches & the Peach Festival), a motto that it was "going to be Peachy! and a website was made. It was getting closer!!
There were a few bumps in the road... Erin accepted a position at our local Education Service Center and our district hired a new director of technology, but the planning continued. We found that Erin was able to reach more people in her new position and our new technology director was eager to help the event be a success.
Through Twitter chats, Voxer, and some face to face meetings with a few organizers, we could see Edcamp Parker County Texas (Edcamp PCTX) coming together. Planning took place in small increments, but everyone jumped in to make this happen!
We shared information at our district meetings, trying to get teachers excited about coming and our school district promoted the event through emails, the website and even talked about it during our back to school convocation.
Sponsors were secured for door prizes, local restaurants donated gift certificates for lunch time drawings, and thanks to the efforts of organizer Sara Reed, our Weatherford Chick-fil-A donated 200 breakfast sandwiches for the attendees. It is amazing how many companies, both locally & throughout the country, will support events such as this!
|Getting everyone signed in & giving our door prize tickets|
Erin kicked the day off with an explanation of what an edcamp is. If you haven't been to one, the beginning can look a bit chaotic and unorganized.
Our superintendent welcomed attendees and even went to sessions! The great part about an edcamp is it is a level playing field. No one is held any higher than another person, and most people don't even know the positions held by the people there. So it was great to see everyone participating! Edcamps aren't for spectators! :)
The rest of the day is best told in pictures! There were so many amazing things that happened!
|And like magic, he was there! Thanks to Amanda's tweet!|
|People helping people become connected!|
|Small groups breaking off to talk more about a topic|
|Crowds of educators giving up a Saturday to learn & grow!|
People having fun, because learning can be fun!
|And THIS says it all!|