For the last couple of years, my mentor and former high school History teacher Stephen Bralley and I have been leading a group of educators in a weekly chat, called #teachSDA. The “SDA” part of that is Seventh-day Adventist, our church, the 2nd largest parochial system next to Catholics. Our goal has always been to find a way to help Adventist educators, scattered all around the world, make better connections with eachother. It’s been a slow process, but we’ve been able to amass almost 60 weekly chats over 2 years.
Last week, our church has a really big meeting in San Antonio, Texas, and there were lots of people tuning in to see the way some decisions were made. As I was online, I saw hundreds of Adventists 1 Tweeting and Facebook posting about what was going on, and it made me wonder how many of those people were teachers, and if those teachers were plugged into the utilizing-social-media-for-PD system. I did some querying, and after a little while, posted this blog post, declaring that #teachSDA was going to try to parlay this San Antonio meeting into an Edcamp!
It took a couple of days of more tweeting, asking questions, etc, but it turns out that we’re going to actually be doing this next Sunday or Monday! This is a really big deal for #teachSDA, and we feel like the stakes are really high, but this might be the thing that gets our chat numbers quite a bit higher and gives us a bit more notoriety within our community.
As I’ve been laying in bed, thinking about what’s coming up, I keep coming back to “what are the goals of this Edcamp?”, and I think it’s important that we consider them before actually moving too much further. What is this Edcamp all about? What do we want out of this? What do we need to learn? I’ve got 3 big things I’ve determined:
- Edcamp #teachSDA is about growing myself. No matter what happens with this, I need to come out of this experience better off. It seems really selfish to focus on my own needs, but really, why put so much work into something that ultimately won’t make me a better teacher? With all the organizing, PR stuff, tech support, and so on, I’ve still got to make sure I take the opportunity to sit in chat rooms with other teachers and learn from them.
- Edcamp #teachSDA is about growing my PLN. Again, a bit self-serving, but I think that putting so much work into this has to be something that grows the number of teachers I can go to to support me, and to support them. My own circle (as in my own @webby37 circle and my #teachSDA circle) must increase through this experience.
- Edcamp #teachSDA is about growing my church. Selfless, huh? 2 Bralley and I have really gotten a lot out of learning on Twitter, through our own PLNs, and we truly want to make sure that other teachers have the great experience that we have from all of this. How can we help our fellow teachers have great experiences as we do ourselves?
More to come on this. Wish us luck!