Reflections on #ntcamp

I got home from a great day at New Teacher Camp, which ironically was mostly veteran teachers, about an hour ago and would like to get some thoughts out while the experience is still fresh in my mind.

First off, thanks to Andy Marcinek, Kristen Swanson, Gerald Aungst, and Rich Kiker for setting up and running #ntcamp. You did out network of teachers and pre-service teachers a great service by providing such a great day of learning.

Second, #ntcamp just reinforced what hosting TeachMeet Nashville and following EdCamp Philly and EdCamp C-ville online already told me. Unconferences are about the best form of professional development around. I’ve actually already put together a team to start work soon on TeachMeet NJ (stay tuned for details).

Third, I really think that teachers are some of the most caring and devoted people on the planet. People drove into Philly from New Hampshire, Virginia, and Connecticut. Others flew in (without being compensated) from Missouri, Florida, North Carolina, and Iowa. Everyone that I talked too, literally, was open and welcoming.

Fourth, the authentic networking and dialogue is wonderful. Before the day even officially started, I had a great conversation with @DrTimonyand @toddhill99on grading. I was talking about getting rid of grades, David was on the opposite end of the spectrum, and Todd was somewhere in the middle. We all had and presented our reasons, but we were able to civilly disagree while also being open to each other’s ideas. The networking built into the day, including the extra-long, 104 degree lunch, helped make the day wonderful and solidify relationships.

Fourth, face-to-face #edchat (I’m pretty sure @amandacdykescoined that term) is great. I highly recommend it if you get the chance. If not, make the chance and start your own conference. We talk to each other online, but the relationships feel like they become “real” for me when I can meet someone in person. Those connections are more important to me than any session. Education is all about relationships. That is why Twitter is so powerful.

Fifth, the sessions were great. They were of the same quality or better than conferences that you pay a lot of money for. @cybraryman1is a great person and, it turns out, a great performer. Check the archive if you didn’t see his opening. The panel discussion with @mbteach, @nhms_principal, @web20classroom, and @kylepacewas a great introduction to social media. My first session after that was on special education with @dancallahanand @kristenswanson, who were very insightful. I led a session afterwards on grading and assessment called “Grades and learning, are they mutually exclusive?” Even though we did not get to the two most interesting questions, in my opinion, the dialog was excellent. almost everyone stayed 10-15 minutes into their lunch time to keep the discussion going. You can read our notes here: http://typewith.me/assessment. Then, I listened in on Twitter for teachers session @tomwhitby, @web20classroom, and @kylepace. Lastly, I went to see @paulawhite’s session on gifted students, but I apparently went to @dancallahan’s “Things that suck” session. That turned out to be a lot of fun, so I stayed there and enjoyed it.

All in all, I met a lot of people I look up to and met a lot of new people to follow online. I can’t wait for TeachMeet NJ (Date tbd) and EdCamp NYC (Dec 4) now. Thanks to @shannonmmiller, @mbteach, @hadleyjf, @paulawhite, @kylepace, @web20classroom, @techfish, @nmhs_principal, @dancallahan, @kristenswanson, @EngTeachGeek, @arosey, @rkiker, @xmath2007, @geraldaungst, @rchuhran, @tomwhitby, @CoachB0066, @Coachginsubrg, and everyone else my tired brain is forgetting for making this a memorable day.

  • http://www.kristenswanson.org Kristen Swanson

    Jason, I could not agree with your reflections more! I think that teachers are caring, dedicated, and hungry for change. The teachers that I worked with today had an enormous amount to contribute to the future of teaching and learning. For me, the biggest takeaway of the day was that we need to use backward design when selecting technology tools. I had a great day overall, and it was great to meet you!

  • http://njtechteacher.blogspot.com Ann Oro

    It was a wonderful day. I can’t agree more that the quality of the sessions I attend was outstanding. I will keep my eyes open for TeachMeet NJ.

  • http://ilearntechnology.com ktenkely

    It is fun to meet the PLN face to face. That was the highlight of ISTE for me. The connections are fantastic! Wish I could have been there with you all.
    ktenkely´s last blog post ..Answer Garden