The first edcampNJ took place on Saturday, December 1, 2012. This event was a labor of love for a number of people (see photo below). I know at least one person is missing from the photo, but you get the picture. For me the journey to December 1st started almost a year earlier when I decided to start using Twitter for professional purposes. My first attempt in 2008 was traditional and did not provided me with much value; however, the second go around gave me a whole new perspective on the world of education and the people who are out there simply working to connect and learn from one another!
After some time, I connected with +Jeffrey Bradbury who created and runs TeacherCast, an amazing resource site for all educators. Jeff's vision and tech skills helped to foster even greater connection between New Jersey educators. He began podcasting about #njed and more people started to become a part of the fold. Some of the people in this group had been to some wonderful professional development days that took place on Saturdays, didn't cost anything, and were participant driven, called edcamps. After some back and forth on twitter, it seemed like we needed to meet to discuss the ideas. A meeting was organized on Big Marker. After our first meeting we began to meet more frequently on both Big Marker and Google+ Hangout. Between the focused discussion and the laugh-out-loud fun we were having, the group seemed to gel and the decision was made that we needed to have our own edcamp: edcampNJ.
|edcamp leadership team|
In the meantime, some other amazing educators began a venture that was spurred on by their love of twitter and its power to bring people together. +Scott Rocco and +Brad Currie co-founded #Satchat. As per its facebook page, "Satchat is a weekly discussion on Twitter that takes place every Saturday morning at 7:30EST. School leaders from all areas of education are welcomed. Feel free to sip and chat." +Bill Krakower joined on as a co-moderator and the discussions are phenomenal each week. I couldn't believe that others would get up at 7:30am on Saturday morning to have educational dialogue, but they did and #Satchat has grown to include a West Coast version that takes place 3 hours later. Once again, New Jersey educators making a statement in 2012.
#edcampnj. at Linwood Middle School in North Brunswick, NJ. After doing my small part with the crew to organize the event and working that morning to set up, it was heartwarming to see that 200+ participants showed up for a day of professional learning. A live #satchat was held to kick off the day, Teachercast was creating videos of events and sessions throughout the day, a Guidebook app was created to assist participants, the session board filled and we needed to open additional rooms, and a great time was had by all connecting and learning. New Jersey educators showed their support for victims of Hurricane Sandy through the purchase of t-shirts and a toy drive for Toys for Tots. Please visit the #edcampNJ site for more information and pictures! You won't be disappointed. Here are two reactions to the day: +Damian Bariexca: EdcampNJ Two Weeks Later and Kate Baker: My EdcampNJ Highlights. Please add any others in the comments section below. Now it is only another 11 months or so until edcampNJ 2013! Check out the great photos by +Kevin Jarrett and other from the 1st edcampNJ!
As if all of that were not enough, +Jeffrey Bradbury also started another NJ virtual gathering place after edcampNJ to help facilitate even greater New Jersey connections. If you have not checked out jerseyeducation.com, you need to do so. This is a new landing spot for New Jersey educators to connect and learn. Jeff has been working tirelessly to make this a functional and valuable tool for New Jersey educators. It is a community that will grow and looks to provide a one-stop location for all of the needs of the NJ educator!
I must add a little disclaimer to this post. It has been a crazy year. I haven't touched on half of the amazing things that have changed my perspective on connected learning and education in general during 2012, so if I got some of the events/facts above out of order, please forgive me. It is hard to keep all of these great things straight.
I am proud to be a New Jersey Educator and I am looking forward to an even better 2013!