#edcamp35 It Takes A Village

This past Saturday, I had the distinct pleasure of participating in #edcamp35 in Langley, BC. As soon as #edcamp35 was announced, I signed up and knew that it would be an incredible day of learning, being challenged and being encouraged.

The thing that I looked forward to the most about #edcamp35 was connecting face to face with many of the people in my PLN. Having been involved in the global educational twitter community for over three years, I have had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with many people around the world, and that becomes even more meaningful when I can put a real face to the twitter handle. Once I hear someone’s voice, I can’t help but hear them when I read their tweets. It’s that personal connection that enhances my twitter experience.

Having had a couple of bumps in life’s journey of late (deciding to withdraw from university and my mother-in-law being diagnosed with peritoneal cancer only a week later), the face to face meetings with my twitter friends took on a greater meaning. These past few months, life has been frustrating, to say the least. At times I feel emotionally spent. My school is now on our third principal this year, I am teaching a new (to me) split class, and everything seems to be in flux. But, one of the things that has kept me grounded through all of the ups and downs is the wonderful, amazing PLN I have developed through twitter. On Saturday at #edcamp35 I was greeted with more hugs and smiles than I can count, and for that part of the day alone, I am truly grateful.

The sessions I was involved in were ones I feel passionate about: Celebrating Success: Sharing Student Stories Through Social Media, Digital Citizenship, E-portfolios and Rethinking Awards in School. The discussions didn’t necessarily go in the directions I anticipated, but they all made me think and reevaluate my views and practices. It was exciting to hear people share their ideas, successes and challenges. It was exhilarating to be able to leave behind the day-to-day grind and be inspired by my amazing colleagues and friends.

For me, the experience I had at #edcamp35 strengthens the truth I know in the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Education is a collaboration between all stakeholders and is only really successful if all of us work together. To see teachers, administrators, trustees, parents and students all discussing important topics in education indicates to me that we all wish to work as a team and do the best we can as a community.

Thank you to the organizing team of #edcamp35! You hosted a fantastic event and I can’t wait to be involved next year.