About 200 teachers from the metro Atlanta area, and from as far away as Floyd and Whitfield Counties, spent one of their few remaining days of summer break attending the second annual EdCampFayette hosted by the school system’s instructional technology department.
EdCamp is a free, non-conference where the rules are flipped. The agenda is prepared on site as attendees post online the topics they want to know more about, and those who have the knowledge volunteer to give presentations. Participants are encouraged to walk out of a presentation if it does not meet their needs, and they are asked to Tweet about the camp during presentations.
EdCamps are advertised through Tweets, emails, and postings on the EdCamp site. EdCampFayette was held at Sara Harp Minter Elementary on July 23. Donors provided breakfast and lunch, as well as official 2015 EdCampFayette t-shirts, to participants.
The majority of presentations consisted of teachers sharing their best practices, and the resources they use, to bring technology into the classroom. Some topics included learning to teach computer science for K-12 using code.org (April DeGennaro, gifted teacher at Peeples Elementary); the value of connectedness (Nancy Blair, principal of Rising Starr Middle); and using the online app, Flippity, to turn Google spreadsheets into online flashcards (Gail Frantz, fifth grade math and science teacher at Peeples Elementary, and 2015 Fayette County Teacher of the Year).
Attendees from other school systems also shared their tips and ideas on topics such as robotics presented by Brian Swanagan of Floyd County Schools, saving time and money with Google presented by Joel Frey of Clarke County Schools, and using TouchCast, a program for creating interactive video broadcasts, presented by David Lockhart of Atlanta Public Schools.
Although most sessions were focused on technology, presenters also shared valuable information about various programs and services.
Ogechi Oparah with the Woodruff Arts Center conducted an informational session on the three-year grant the Fayette County School System has with the Center, allowing teachers and students free access to a multitude of programs and performances, both at their schools and the Woodruff Arts Center.
“We had heard about the Woodruff grant, and wanted to know more about the opportunities available to us,” Peeples Elementary teachers Leigh Anne Borders and Pam Barron told Oparah before her presentation on the grant.
Shayla McGhee of Georgia Public Broadcasting also conducted a session covering Discovery Ed and other programs for educators available through the Public Broadcasting System (PBS).