Wrap Up and a Challenge

The CATC Camp wrapped up yesterday.  Unlike most events that would typically conclude by noon on a Saturday, this was a full day event and we didn’t say our goodbyes until 3 in the afternoon.  So, campers got a full day’s worth of professional activity.

The activity seemed more frantic on this date as everyone realized that things were coming to a close and projects were still open and needed finishing.  That made for some interesting movement on my part as I was asked to go to a number of different rooms and even buildings to work with people.  (and I kept at it despite the urge to go down to the lake and just relax!)

We did have another impromptu learning session and this time it was about using Adobe Connect in the classroom to connect schools or bring guest speakers in virtually.  That went nicely despite the connection.  I got a chance to work with a session using the Connect client on my iPad.  As long as I was connected to the wireless, it worked nicely.  There are certainly components that I couldn’t participate in like the video conferencing but that’s to be expected.  It would be nice to be able to do the simple thumbs up and thumbs down activity but I couldn’t find that.  Oh well.  There were a number of ideas for how to use the service and brainstorming is always great when introduced to a tool for the first time.

Sessions are brainstormed in the newsroom on whiteboards daily.

The final newstime of the conference took place at 2:30 with some terrific door prizes like attendance at next year’s CATC or the ECOO Conference.  Very nice.  The group got to enjoy a video entitled "If I had an iPad" composed by a group of Curriculum Consultants sung to the tune of a popular song.    In honour of the brilliant orange shirts that all campers received, Mr. Pumpkin got his own custom pumpkin design.  Pumpkin on the front; "Show us your Tweets" on the back!

And we were out of there…

The challenge with any professional development "event" is always follow-through.  It’s one thing to work in an environment like this where you have friends and facilitators, but it’s quite another to head back home and then into school in a few weeks to then pick up where you left off.

Throughout the camp, the importance of sharing and transparent learning was a common message.  It’s nice to get a list of physical attendees and it’s also nice to pick up email addresses for continuity.  Here, a couple of new ideas were really pushed.  There is a Facebook group started to keep folks in step and on top of the latest directions and thinking.  Secondly, there was a huge push to not only have all campers leave with Twitter accounts (which is common these days at PD events) but to also actively work on following those that you learned with.  As people would follow me, I’d add them to the list of Ontario Educators and those that I recognized and talked with were added to the list of People I’ve Met.

The challenge to us all is to stay on top of the learning and to grow and inculcate the notion of continuous, transparent learning.  That’s the direction and it’s not the typical edu-babble that you see these days.  There are awesome people learning every day and they’re willing to take you along for the ride.  You just need to identify those that are meaningful to you and then call co-pilot and get at it.

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