Sunday, December 2, 2012

My EdcampNJ Highlights

On December 1st, 2012, educators from NJ and surrounding areas congregated at Linwood Middle School in North Brunswick for EdcampNJ's free day of professional development.

This is me talking about
during the Smackdown.
Photo Credit: Kevin Jarrett

High & Low-tech for Optimal Learning

Not only teachers able to share ways to integrate technology in the classroom, but I also learned some low-tech techniques as well. There is something for everyone at

Cellphones in the Classroom

For those of you looking for online organization of students using cellphones in class, take a look at I use a mix of devices with some days in the class being BYOD and others using the school's computers and netbooks (as available). I already use Edmodo as my online hub, but looks worth exploring more in depth.  I also use QR Codes, Socrative and InfuseLearning for other BYOD activities, and Today's Meet for backchanneling. 

Storytelling in the Classroom

Following the rule of two feet, I only caught the last 10 minutes of this session, but I wish I had caught the whole thing. Led by Bill Krakower's mom, Elsie, this session focused on story telling techniques for encouraging student presentation skills. For high-tech story telling, Skype with other classes or have students tell and record stories using their devices.

Rubber Bands for Desktop Alignment

The desks in my classroom are the kind with the chair attached to the desktop and are arranged in a modified U-shape with desks in the center in front-facing lines. The set up works well for a mix of classroom activities from partner work to group work to direct instruction, but by the end of the day, the desks have migrated out of formation because every time a student slides into his/her seat, the desk gets slightly pushed to the right. By the end of the day, the entire room is shifted to the right wall-- as if there were a gravitational force. Using rubber bands around desk legs may keep them better in line. Keep those eyes peeled at Edcamp-- resources can be found anywhere!

Body Talk

Paul Bogush (@paulbogush) lead a session on body language in the classroom, including teacher and student postures. I caught the last 20 minutes of this and I wish I had been there for the whole session. In addition to the collaborative notes on the session, Jerry the Cybraryman, has complied a list of additional resources on his web site. As one who can usually read people, this was a fascinating session!

How To Run Your Own Edcamp

I enjoyed listening to Kevin Jarret and others discuss the structure and design of Edcamps and how to start Edcamps as PD in one's own school.  Edcamp-type sessions can start as small as having a discussion over lunch where teachers share ideas or having a once-a-month "unmeeting" where teachers show and share best practices.  Here are additional links on how to run an Edcamp.