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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Coming of EdCampChicago

It's getting close, just 3 months away. Can you tell I'm excited?

This will be my third #EdCampChicago and the second I have helped organize. If you have never been to an edcamp and wonder what all the fuss is about just ask anyone who has gone before. Almost everyone will respond with something along the lines of: It was different, I learned a ton, I talked with real educators, I met a friend and we plan to connect during the next school year on a new project.

There is no doubt that the unconference model has struck a chord with many in the connected educator community. You know, just plain teachers who wish to learn from other teachers and then take risks and try new things in the classroom. Just look at some of the blog posts from EdCamps around the country.

This year we at #EdCampChicago have made a specific effort to connect with educational companies that we feel reflect the values inherent in #EdCampChicago.

  • Student first and often student centered learning
  • Technology as a tool to enhance education through:
    • fostering communication
    • fostering collaboration
    • creating and presenting
    • differentiated learning
    • focus on learning and not completing work

Thanks to the generosity of our host, Leyden High School, most of the money we collect from sponsors goes towards food for the participants. If we have extra at the end of the day we have agreed to donate to the #EdCampFoundation to help promote future edcamps either here in Chicago or around the world.

With that in mind we each reached out to specific people and companies and the response has been extremely positive. This is in no way indicative of all the wonderful educational companies around the country, but they are some of the people who came to mind first for us.

Our first and biggest sponsor was Be sure to check out their iPad summit this year.Thanks to them we will be able to buy participant lunch again this year.

Close on their heels with an equal amount was Pearson Education. (Thanks to their generous donation) We should be able to buy breakfast and perhaps some gas cards to give away this year.

Next on the list is TechSmith was our first sponsor last year and started the tradition of buying lunch for the participants. They do a great job of sponsoring EdCamps in several cities. If you're familiar with flipping your classroom, then you have probably seen their software. If you come to #EdCampChicago you might get a copy of some of their great stuff.
Another sponsor from last year is SimpleK12 is also a sponsor of many different #EdCamps around the country and we are proud to have them as a sponsor again. Look for a group blog post on their sight written collaboratively by the #EdCampChicago organizers. SimpleK12 will again be giving away 1 year memberships and free ebooks to all participants.

The third repeat sponsor this year will be Google. Sorry no Chromebooks to be given away, pens and lanyards. Last year was Leyden High School's first year using Chromebooks and one of the most popular presentations was the students showing off what they learned.

The other new sponsors for this year are Edmodo and Desmos.

Edmodo of course is a very nice looking site that, kind of sort of, mimics the facebook interface. The familiar look and feel of the social media website makes parents and students feel more comfortable checking and keeping up with what is going on in class.

Desmos is a great web based math calculator. Equations are instantly transformed into graphs with easy integration of sliders so that students can see how changes in the equation relate to changes in the graph. I especially like to daily graph they share on facebook. The best thing about that is being able to see the equations behind the pretty graphs. I think students seeing the how to build complicated graphs give an incentive to be creative and make their own.

So that is it seven education companies here supporting us as educators. The money isn’t huge, our costs are pretty low thanks again to Leyden High donating space, we like buying lunch, but it isn’t a requirement. The real reason for reaching out to sponsors to to build the connections. The power of #edCamp is that way we connect, collaborate, and learn from each other. There is no reason to limit that power if we don’t have to.


alicestanley said...

My friend was lucky to receive a lanyard from them. I really want to get more freebies but it is sad to know that they will not be doing that this year.

-Alice S.

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