Monday, 23 February 2015

Ungeeking the Geekery - #EducampRotovegas 21 February 2015

I love educamps. I loved this one the most. And not because I was one of the hosts and the convenor.

Several aspects stood out for me as we went through the agenda for the day: the welcome, introductions, smackdown and workshops.

Among the people who arrived were a lot of unfamiliar faces.

I love my tweep colleagues and many of us are now educamp groupies. We enjoy seeing each other
again. It's our tribe and it's like coming home.  It's also amazing to meet online friends face to face for the first time (hey there, Justine Hughes @cossie29 and Leonie Bennett @leonie_hastings).

One of our aims when Marnel van der Spuy @1MvdS and I thought we could do this three years ago, was to bring a professional learning opportunity to Rotorua that was available to all local teachers for no cost except their time. What struck us at the 2013 day was the lack of local teachers.  But it was so much fun and learning, with great connections made from around the compass.

So even more exciting were these new faces; newbies to educamp who came from as far away as Auckland, Hawkes Bay, Tauranga, Hamilton, Tirau, Tokoroa and south Waikato. And Rotorua. A lot of Rotorua teachers.  Hallelujah!

Everyone looked as if they were having a great time.

I'm conscious of that celebrity status that well known presenters get; the in people, the ones who have a reputation for having a lot of knowledge and are far too super geek to talk to. It's easy to feel like an imposter who doesn't know enough to share.  But the room embraced everyone.  It was made quite clear that nothing was dumb, everyone had something to offer and it was okay to sit back and absorb. When someone said she was only a BT, the crowd loudly disagreed with her label; similarly when some one else said she was "only a teacher aide".  Everyone had a place in the room.  And it showed as the smackdown extended through many slides as people gained confidence to share.

The range of workshops appealed to everyone.  Newbies joined Twitter. What was once pure geek is becoming mainstream. Hooray!

Thanks to Kimberly Baars @MissesArtech from Taupaki School for talking about Maker Culture; Diana Wilkes @DianaWilkes for her workshop on Teacher Dashboard at Ormiston School and Jo Makinson @JoMakinson for leading the group through Literacy Evolution which she started at Richmond School..

Now an established event that drew fifty people, Network for Learning through  Andy Schick @Andy_Schick stumped up for refreshments. Thanks folks!

And thanks to Juliet Revell @Juliet_Revell who demonstrated that it was possible to attend by GHO from Napier and Leanne Stubbing @fivefoot3 who watched from afar in Wellington and completed a Storify of the day.

The geekery was well and truly ungeeked. Good on you all. Welcome to twenty first century learning at last!