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EDcampTeachers are in the field every day teaching.  They use technology, adapt technology, and know what technology works with kids.  So attending a conference led by teachers is empowering.  Friday I attended EdCampKS. This conference was organized by teachers for teachers with presentations by teachers.

The morning started with blocks of time scheduled on poster paper.  Some sessions had been pre-arranged and presenters were ready to go.  But there were also open blocks of time that needed filled.  As a group, teachers discussed successes they were having in their classrooms.  As sites, apps, resources and ideas were sparked, the facilitators of EdCampKS asked the teachers sharing to write those session in the blanks and lead.  This was professional development that was instantly designed to meet the needs of those present.

I have both attended and presented at conferences.  In both roles I want the information to be meaningful.  I want to get information I can implement, use and make my own for my kids and I also want to present information that can be used, implemented and adapted by attendees to make their own.  To increase the likelihood of this happening the conferences used the “Two feet” rule.  You attended the sessions that interested you, no sign up or pre-designated assignments, and if you had gotten what you needed or needed something different you had permission, almost an expectation, to leave and go to another session.  One of the facilitators commented, “At EdCamp there have been presenters who have left their own room to step into another session”.  There always seem to be sessions I would like to attend that overlap; the”two feet” rule allowed me to get information from multiple sessions happening at the same time.

There are so many things I have swimming around in my head with ideas to explore, try, make my own and use in the classroom next year.  Here are just a few ideas to get your teacher nerd on too! for interactive presentations

iBooksAuthor for mac users to create books for students, allows for differentiation

Daqri Augmented Reality to allow students to add qr codes with video link making your classroom come alive

Classroom Cribs student spaces and rethinking how your classroom is arranged

Doink animations and drawings on the iPad

ChatterPics give photos a voice for reports, book review, history and more

Showbie digital paper collection

SchoolKitMath manipulatives for iPad

Voxer voice messaging and walkie-talkie system

Zaption turn online video into learning experiences

Meaningful professional development is priceless.  Networking and learning from those in the classroom makes it all the more valuable.  EdCampKS was an excellent conference that allowed me to feel empowered and valued as an educator. Sharing ideas, learning from others and finding resources my kids will love was a great way to spend a summer day.  So, while you were not there please use a few links above to find inspiration for your kids next fall.


Lori Rice is a fourth-grade teacher at West Elementary in Wamego, Kansas, who has taught K-2 reading...

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