A few weeks ago, I challenged a few other edcamp Edmonton co-organizers to blog about the edcamp experience, so it's high time I meet my own expectations, don't you think?
One day, I forget when exactly, it occurred to me that in Alberta we have a lot of active, interesting and involved educators. I'd name them, but then I'd forget someone and it would be #FF all over again. (winky face) So, it began with a simple tweet that I can't really be bothered to go retrieve that basically asked "Why Edmonton didn't yet have an edcamp set up?" Once a few local and interested educators replied, we were good to go.
After two meetings in person, we remembered that it was 2011 and started meeting via Google+, and I'm glad we did. It was nice to take advantage of those tools and learn as we went. Hangouts remain the sole thing I've used Google+ for, but then again, I had a twitter account for a year before I started using it for education, so who knows what will happen.
Organizers kind of came and went as the planning progressed, which is an observation, not a criticism. As a person who is really into coming up with ideas and less interested in finishing them, I truly understand that things come up: trips, responsibilities, sick family, the whole pesky teaching thing. It's all life.
To those organizers who did stick it out: you know who you are, and you also know the password to the website, so go add your name to the list already!
Do I feel the day was a success? Yes, I really do. We had over one hundred registrations (though half as many attendees, and we're on it); we had 12 concurrent sessions; we had environment minded prizes (gas cards for 2 farthest carpools travelled); we had participants from Medicine Hat, from Millwoods, and from Michigan; I love alliterative sentences; we even ended up with an amazing Google Doc.
Truly, the best word that sums up how I feel about the event and every one and thing surrounding it is gratitude. I'm grateful to the following websites for being the beacons in the darkness they turned out to be:
I'm incredibly grateful to my parents, who graciously donated their time and sandwich making skills to our lunch.
I'm grateful for all the those individuals who contributed, either via Twitter or in a Hangout or in person, or stepped up on the day of the event to present, share, speak and listen.
I'm grateful to the Educational Technology Council of Alberta and the Alberta Social Studies Council for donating the funds to cover food and prizes.
And I'm grateful to the staff of Lillian Osborne High School, the first building I've ever truly loved. I'll never get over you, LO. You and your flying buttresses.
Here's the thing about the edcamp organizational experience: it was really, really easy. Why? Because it's easy to do what you love. Because the day is so focused on collaboration and spontaneous conversation, the planning is rather minimal. And also because the group of educators that offered their help and resources were so awesome, everything pretty much fell into place. Things fell into place so easily, in fact, that I think we're going to do it all over again:
EdCamp Edmonton - Saturday April 14th, 2012 - Still looking for a theme
Oh, one last thing: someone forgot their travel mug in the library: