A Recipe for Awesome – by Guest Blogger, Aimee Bartis

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EdCampAwesomeEdCampAwesome was Saturday, February 22nd at Royse City High School.  EdCampAwesome certainly lived up to it’s name.  I had the pleasure of working as an organizer for EdCampAwesome.  After everything wrapped up, several people asked about putting on their own EdCamp. Here’s a recipe for an Awesome EdCamp.

Start with 2 guys (or gals) with an idea so crazy that it just might work

In our case this was Stuart Burt and Zach Snow.  They hatched the idea in October.  And instead of just thinking about how cool it would be, they set about to make it happen.  That’s the case with most great leaders, they think and then they act.

Add in passionate educators.

When I think of the team Stuart and Zach assembled, I think passion.  Everyone was excited to help and learn together.  No one said, I can’t do that.  Everyone did their part.  It takes a team of diverse experiences to pull off something like EdCamp.  You’ll need creativity, technical skills, connections and boldness to plan a successful EdCamp.

Fold into G+

All our planning was done through Google+.  I think we had one face to face meeting when we met at Royse City HS to work on logistics.  And even then, not everyone could attend.  Notes were posted in our private G+ community.  Questions were asked and answered.  We had Google Hangouts to plan and discuss.

Drop in 300 more passionate educators

Without a doubt, educators who attend EdCamps are passionate. Why else would they give up their Saturday to learn? Because they care about their students and their profession.  To EdCamp educators, they don’t have a job, they have a calling.  Educators at EdCamps come wanting to learn and willing to share.

Stir in interesting sessions and lively discussions

The schedule is built that morning from participant suggestions – something they want to learn and something they can lead a discussion about.  We had AWESOME sessions – Coding in Elementary, Twitter, Time Management, Student Branding, Reading Strategies and Differentiation to name a few.

Sift out fear

Many EdCampAwesome educators were new to the idea of EdCamps. But they came anyway! And they left energized and excited. Several of them joined Twitter so they could continue learning on their own time. They are now in charge of their own professional development.  Their excitement pumped me up.  It’s contagious.

Bake for 8 hours

For me, EdCamps are never long enough. There’s not enough time to meet all the people I want to meet or attend all the sessions I want to go to.  Eight hours flies by.  Even lunch is an extension of the learning.  Not all participants talk about tools and strategies at lunch but most each lunch with someone new and that opens the door to more connections.

Sprinkle with thoughtfulness

Thoughtfulness is a powerful force for good.  I don’t think that we, as organizers, set out to design an EdCamp experience that was thoughtful but it happened. We worked hard to make sure participants had more than they expected.  We had a great breakfast thanks to Chiloso and Sapling Learning.  In the afternoon we put out chips and salsa from Arboledas.  The Royse City HS Drumline welcomed us in the morning.  Swag feel from the 2nd floor in between sessions.  We had LOTS of giveaways and swag.  I think everyone left with something. I have to shout out to Christina and Christie, our swag divas. Those ladies worked the phones, hit the sidewalks and brought home some great stuff for the EdCampers.

Serve with Fun

I can honestly say that Saturday was fun! It was fun to see our months of hard work pay off.  I had a little too much fun giving away prizes.  (Watch out if you give me a mic) Participants had fun.  And isn’t that when we learn the most, when we’re having fun and relaxed? It’s fun to try to quantify how many students will be effected by what educators learned at EdCampAwesome.  If not by something learned directly, then by the igniting of a fiery passion for education.  And that makes EdCampAwesome truly awesome and worth my time.

If you weren’t able to join us, follow @EdCampAwesome on Twitter for announcements for next year!





Aimee is the Educational Technology Specialist at Sunnyvale Middle School. Aimee is a writer, reader and big thinker. She loves to serve educators, help them integrate technology and engage their students. You can find Aimee at her website www.pluggedinedu.com and on Twitter @aimeegbartis

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