EdCamp in NYC

It has been an extraordinarily challenging week in New York. Before sharing thoughts about education, I wanted to take a moment to send my love out to all of the families who were affected by Hurricane Sandy and to give thanks for all of the volunteers who have been supporting them. With a little bit of hope and a lot of hard work our community will begin to rebuild.

Just a few days before all of the chaos in New York, I attended my first EdCamp and it was definitely worth sharing about…and no, not just because I got to see two 3-D printers in real life (though that was pretty ridiculous!) It took place at The School at Columbia, which is right in my neighborhood. Families always ask me about this school and I must say after visiting, that it seems like a place where innovation and great teaching happens everyday.

As for EdCamp…I’ve been reading about EdCamp for awhile now, but I still wasn’t sure exactly how it would work. The first hour was what truly made EdCamp so unique. During that time the sessions for the day were created. There was a large board at the front of the room and teachers were crowding around it. Some were stepping up to facilitate a session, while others seemed to be asking questions that would call for a session. By the end of the hour the session board had something for everyone.

Three out of four of the sessions I attended taught me something new, which is a pretty good stat for an ed conference. Don Buckley, director of technology and innovation at The School at Columbia blew my mind speaking about the design thinking project he worked on with his students last year. He collaborated with Tools at Schools to bring design thinking into the classroom. He also shared a video that got my head spinning – it’s definitely worth a view. You can find it on his posterous site.

Click this screenshot to view the video.

Mary Beth Hertz, Kim Sivick and Deven Black led a hands-on session where we got to learn about and try out the Makey Makey. If you can get your hands on one of these, do it! I haven’t had that much fun in awhile. Here is a teacher introducing Makey Makey to a few Kindergarteners for the first time so you can get a visual. If this doesn’t make you smile, I don’t know what will!

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