This past Sunday I attended EdcampNYC at Avenues: The World School in Manhattan. If you are unfamiliar with Edcamp, a prior post details what Edcamp is all about, while another post describes how we have adapted this model to work with our building-based professional development at the elementary school level.
EdcampNYC was divided into three one-hour time slots.
First, I went to Andrew Stillman’s session on Doctopus. Doctopus is a Google Drive add-on that extends the functionality of what can be accomplished with the Google tool. According to its official description, Doctopus is a “Teacher-built tool for scaffolding, managing, organizing, and assessing student projects in Google Drive.” In other words, Doctopus is all about getting the most out of teacher and student workflows. It was both interesting and impressive that the session began with a discussion about the problems that exist within Google Drive, which then transitioned to how Doctopus can solve these dilemmas. Stillman also conducted a short demo of Goobric, which is an “extension [that] adds rubric grading functionality to the Doctopus Apps Script document management utility for educators.” While there was not enough time to view everything that these programs have to offer, Stillman’s presentation provided me with more than enough motivation to sit down and teach myself how to use them, as I was clearly able to see their educational value.
For the second time slot I led a session on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). In order to guide the discussion, I made use of a slide deck (featured above) that quickly summarizes my four blog posts on the topic. Everything went very well, and there was not a dull moment during the hour-long dialogue. In fact, I do feel that we could have easily continued to talk about BYOD for at least another hour or so. While the majority of the conversation focused on digital citizenship and/or how to obtain buy-in for BYOD, a second hour could have definitely been spent on such subtopics as devices, apps, professional development, etc. It was also wonderful to have two of my colleagues, Larry Reiff and Megan Wilson, come to the session and participate with thought-provoking comments.
The last time slot was spent in a discussion on iBeacons, which was led by Megan Wilson. Admittedly, iBeacons are a topic about which I know almost nothing, but what I heard provided me with a solid starting point. iBeacons seem to function in somewhat of the same fashion as QR codes in that they trigger events. However, they can do so automatically and seamlessly, without the users having to take any action on their end. Wilson set up a backchannel in which participants loaded resources. I have taken a few of these resources and posted them below (since these backchannels always expire):
EdcampNYC was a great excuse to head to New York City, eat tons of food, and be a part of some valuable learning on a beautiful day. Also, it was a pleasure collaborating with/seeing Larry Reiff (@mrreiff), Megan Wilson (@ipodsibilities), Monica Burns (@ClassTechTips), Courtney Pepe (@ipadqueen2012), Adam Goldberg (@Adam_G88), Reshan Richards (@reshanrichards), Rob Pennington (@robpennington9), and Sean Junkins (@sjunkins).