Monday, March 7, 2016

EdCamp Florence, Alabama

This past Saturday I attended EdCampFlorence, which makes the fifth EdCamp I have been too.  It was a great event, especially since it was the first one for Florence.  I was especially fortunate since my fiancee was able to attend as well.  Since she is an instructional technology coach, the conversations about what we saw and how it might be useful in the classroom are always beneficial.  This is particularly important since she specializes in elementary, which is a great contrast to my secondary mindset.

The event had over 180 educators in attendance and took place in an incredible facility.  I thought it might be a good day when right off the bat I snagged a door prize which was a collection of three educational books.  One, Stephen Covey's The Leader in Me, was already in my personal library so I'll pay it forward and give that away at EdCampMontgomery next month.

I stepped up to facilitate sessions on Participate Learning's (www.participate.comParticipate Chats feature as well as an intro to Symbaloo ( Additionally, I highlighted Symbaloo's new Lesson Plan feature in the App Smackdown.

I sat in on a great presentation on Google Chrome Extensions and a MakerSpace session that was quite informative. (Note, I still need a lot of practice flying the Parrot Mini Drone.  I didn't exactly crash it but it didn't really land under my control either.)

As the day continued, I ran in to many friends and colleagues including two of my graduate students from Auburn University Montgomery.  Since all of my adjunct work for AUM has been online, this was our first real meeting.

As with most EdCamps, the day concludes with several door prize giveaways.  As readers will remember, I have been busy securing door prize donations for EdCampMontgomery.  The great folks at Ipevo had provided several items, including a Ziggi HD Plus document camera that I reviewed a couple of weeks ago.  Ever since that review, I have been trying to come up with a real reason why I needed to buy one for myself.  So, when I saw that EdCampFlorence had also been provided with some Ipevo gear I put most of my chances into that bucket.  But for good measure, I threw some at a chance for a Swivl robotic camera stand and a package from Marzano Research.

Of those items, the Marzano Package came up first.  Well, what do you know, my ticket came up!  A T-shirt and collection of two books.  The Art and Science of Teaching had already been in my wish list, but Managing the Inner World of Teaching has only been out about six months.

Next up were the Ipevo items.  I knew that Ipevo had sent four of their Wireless Interactive White Boards as well as a couple of the Ziggi document camera models.  I had put quite a few chances in but fully expected not to win, or to win one of the white boards which would be of little use for me.  How thrilled I was when my name was pulled first!  They had grabbed a Ziggi VZ-1 HD, a great USB and VGA model document camera to hand me but, I'll be honest, I gently asked for the Ziggi HD Plus that was still sitting on the table.

I was checking out the Ziggi and flipping through the Marzano books when I heard my name again! "What? I won a Swivl too!"  Well, okay, I'll certainly put that to use!  In fact, I have already recorded the unboxing and I'll have a video review of it here on the blog by weeks end.

While there certainly is some luck involved, I do want to share with all EdCampers and few secrets about door prizes.  EdCamps are about getting involved.  Everyone gets a few tickets; the EdCamp staff is normally encouraged to be generous, but that also means that extra tickets are given out to presenters and facilitators, as well as participants that ask questions or add to the conversation in a session.  So, don't be shy, speak up.  Lead a session.  Ask a question.  Share some knowledge.  Maybe, just maybe, you'll walk away from an EdCamp with some new toys!

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