Skip to main content

EdCamp Lessons Learned



It's been a couple of weeks since we successfully launched EdCamp Elmbrook. Some of our planning team sat down to look at our survey data and reflect on the successes and some of the challenges.   Over half of our attendees were kind enough to complete our feedback survey.  The data presented below reflects the results of those surveyed. As it is an event we will be continuing in 2018, we hope to build on this year by highlighting what worked and finding ways to address somethings that didn't go as smoothly. 

Celebrations



100% strongly agreed that the registration process was simple and easy.  This is a credit to how wonderfully Eventbrite is in terms of signing up and day of event check-in.  Not to mention our great team who was checking people in. 

100% strongly agreed that the facilities set-up was adequate and appropriate for the event.  This speaks to a couple of areas.  Our custodial staff did an excellent job of setting up the cafeteria.  Tom Juran's students did an wonderful job of creating signage to make us look professional and guide attendees to their rooms.  Our planning team did a good job selecting breakout room locations that were all in the same hallway and prepping rooms for the day. There are a few tweaks we will do, but this was a great strength.



The Swag was a big hit.  Both the free stuff and the raffle prizes.  We hope to keep contacting EdCamp friendly businesses to get more stuff for our attendees. In addition, as we have sponsors provide free subscriptions to attendees in large numbers, we hope to provide sessions like we did this year for educators to share ideas specific to that platforms and support educators so we can put these tools to use rather than letting them sit on the shelf.



Lunch was fantastic.  Our district's catering service provided a taco bar lunch which was hot, fresh, and delicious. Our district has pledged to support our food needs for next year.  So, we are excited about that. We also had a great afternoon snack of fresh baked cookies.  I loved those cookies.



The welcome session was fantastic.  This is due to 3 charismatic individuals. My fearless principal Brett Greutzmacher provided a great personal message about the importance of personalized PD, Assistant Superintendent Dana Monogue framed EdCamp beautifully as part of the greater vision of learning in our region, and Katie Spadoni helped us all get into the frame of mind of taking a risk and making us feel less like strangers.  Basically, we want all of them back on the mic next year. 



Challenges



While lunch and snacks were great, we feel we could make some changes to breakfast.  The bagels that were served were not the freshest way to start the morning.  We hope to try to provide some more fresh and energizing breakfast options for next year.  On that note, we ran out of our ordered amount of coffee very quickly. So we will need to up that order.  In addition, we hope to make the coffee more accessible during the breakout sessions by moving it to a location by the breakout rooms.



There were lots of participants who jumped at the opportunity to pitch a session during the pitch and plan.  But as first time managers of a session board, we ran into some hiccups. The post-its we had did not stick to the physical session board.  So, there was a scramble for tape and it was a little messy at first.  Also, there was some delay in getting everything into the digital session board.  By the end, everyone was super happy with the board and we were able to reduce conflicts of interest and had a great board. But next go around, it'll run more smoothly as we coordinate and update in real time.


While lunch was great in terms of food, many felt 1 hour was a little long for lunch.  It felt like we lost a little momentum going into the afternoon.  It was great to have time to sit and eat, but we think cutting it down would help move us into the afternoon and respect the time that our attendees are giving us.


The great thing about a pitch and plan is that pitchers can speak to their specific sessions.  There is an art to that process that we are still figuring out.  Next year, we hope to help clarify and categorize sessions so we can help communicate the level they are being pitched to.  Some attendees may be looking for a novice level on a topic while others are looking for something much more advanced.  Going to a session and not getting anything out of it because of the level it was pitched at is a tough one. In addition, we hope to add questions on possible topics registrants would like to share or learn about to the registration form.  We hope to take the top 4 and add them as a predetermined session topics, 1 per time slot.  



We had lots of first time EdCampers and in some ways I think we failed to emphasize a few key ideas.  The biggest one I failed to notice was attendees voting with their feet.  I did not see many attendees leaving sessions despite the fact that some surveys responses stated that they got stuck in sessions that wasn't what they thought they would be.  Communicating this as an EdCamp norm will be key for 2018.  We are planning on making our own video highlighting some of our norms for EdCamp Elmbrook.  In addition, we hope to feature these norms around the session rooms either as physical signs or digitally display them on monitors.



While we had more registrants than I could have imagined, I feel we have lots of room to grow in terms of attendance.  The power of an EdCamp is built on those who attend.  I feel like we could have used even more different voices than we had.  This includes those without roles as classroom teachers.  Feedback from the surveys reflected this pointing out a desire for more learning coaches and administration to be in attendance. I feel that as educators we are all connected and could do a better job spreading the word digitally, but it will also be important to make that face-to-face pitch.  Also, whenever I tried to search for EdCamp Elmbrook, our Google Site was not even in the first page of results.  That needs to be fixed.

I feel like we now have evidence of a successful experience to promote for next year.  In the end, 94% were satisfied with their experience at EdCamp Elmbrook and 91% would recommend attending EdCamp Elmbrook 2018 to their professional learning network. So, please spread the word and get ready for 2018.  We need you to make it even better.


We are currently looking at potential dates around the same time in 2018. We hope to see you there with a few colleagues. 


Popular posts from this blog

Waves of Innovation in Elmbrook Part 1

As a part of a graduate project, I am looking at innovations in education within my school district, Elmbrook Schools. I am specifically focusing on those looking to provide learners with more ownership over their own learning (a.k.a. personalizing learning). I've completed 4 interviews so far.  I had no intention of sharing them via this blog.  But, I think the stories and insights of these educators really are important for all.  They were vulnerable in a way that shows their passion for what they are undertaking.  They want the best for all learners not simply students, but educators who may hear their words.  So, please take the time to listen to their stories.  


In this video, Jeff Ortman a teacher in his 22nd year, discusses implementing strategies to give students ownership of their learning in his high school English classroom.  He discusses why he wanted to change his learning environment, his first steps to bring change, how choice and feedback are key to his classroom, a…

Can I Believe These Numbers?

Our union put out the results of a recent district survey.  The number of those who responded to the survey was low in comparison to the total number of certified staff. But the number and comments related to personalized learning struck me as troubling.


Based on this data, over half of the district staff polled are not onboard with the district's vision for personalized learning.  I would argue that not knowing the district vision for personalized learning is synonymous with not understanding what personalized learning is. The mission of the Elmbrook School Districtto inspire every student to think, to learn and to succeed.  By personalizing learning, we hope to achieve that mission.
I begin to question have we put the phrase before the meaning?  Have we thrown out this word without intention?  Have we made it to much of another thing to do rather than a method to achieve our shared vision.
These numbers shake me to the core.  After the recent presidential election, I realized I was…

How to Personalize Learning Part 3: Knowing How a Classroom Learns

Now, it may seem contradictory to state that teachers should create a classroom learner toolkit.  All individuals in our class have their own profile. We can’t simply design on blanket profile for the class.  That is very true.  That’s why Bray and McClaskey take a different approach to what a classroom learning toolkit looks like.  It is a 3-step process Class Learning Snapshot Preferences and Needs Class Learning Toolkit

Class Learning Snapshot In this model of designing tools for a whole classroom, the authors first recommend the teacher identify 4 learners who are diverse.  The Class Learning Snapshot records the specific strengths, talents, interests, and challenges of those four learners. If a teacher could meet the needs of these diverse learners through UDL, the needs of the other students in the class would probably be met.

Student Strengths, Talents, and Interests Challenges 1 It's easier for me to understand content when I am taught by a teacher and then am able to get informati…