#edcampAshland

It has been a few weeks since the first EdCamp Ashland (@EdcampAshland) took place and I wanted to take an opportunity to reflect, recap, and thank & acknowledge the people and organizations who made it possible.  The experience, as an organizer, was very different from attending an edcamp.  It  was exciting to participate in a different fashion and witness other people stepping up to lead and empower.  The day was filled with honest discussion, shared resources and an atmosphere of genuine curiosity (click here for photos from EdCamp Ashland).

The most popular topics for the day were Google Apps for Education and using apps in the classroom.  For a full list of the schedule for the day click here.  After a brief opening attendees populated the schedule with sessions.  This can be a bit unnerving as it seemed like we would have few presenters, but after a bit the slots filled up and sessions began.  It was nice to see people gathering outside the session rooms to share professional knowledge and resources.  The edcamp model seemed to work well and the day was over quickly.  For the closing ceremony we discussed the resources we used and gave away prizes.  The final act was to get feedback from the attendees (we will share these results later in the blog).

In order to make EdCamp Ashland a reality I needed the help of many people!  First, my co-founder Patrick Miller  (@mrmillerAHS) was critical to the success  of EdCamp  Ashland.  He provided knowledge in areas in which I have very little and his tech skills helped keep the edcamp running smoothly.  Patrick’s passion for dynamic professional development and the world or educational technology allowed us to provide, what I thought, was a great experience.

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EdCamp Ashland Founders (Patrick Miller & Ben Spieldenner)

The next business that deserves some serious recognition is Bill  Harris Auto in Ashland, Ohio.  They provided us with the ability to offer FREE shirts to every participant!  Aaron Harris and the leadership at  Bill Harris Auto (Home of the Educator Discount) were helpful and extremely generous to Edcamp Ashland.

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One edtech company that provided the funds to allow us to do breakfast and a few other fun things is Squirrels*, from Canton, OH.  They were very generous and their Reflector 2 app is amazing!  Check these guys out, they were great to work with not only for monetary support but provided encouragement along the way.

There is no way we could have pulled off Edcamp Ashland without the support of the mothership, Edcamp.org.  The first step in founding an edcamp is to find great educators  to help you…the second step is to go to edcamp.org.  They emailed us with tips and suggestions,  they helped provide breakfast for our attendees, they provided priceless resources to help us get Edcamp Ashland underway.  Thank you edcamp.org for your support and words of encouragement through email and through Twitter…you guys rock!

We had over 20 sponsors that provided close to $4000 in giveaways to attendees!  A full list of our sponsors can be found here.  Of course the motivation for attending an edcamp should not be to win prizes…it is a nice bonus!  So,  thank you to all of our sponsors  and their generosity and support.

A few days after EdCamp Ashland we asked for feedback (we used Survey Monkey).  We figured we could use the data to help us make next year’s edcamp that much more successful.  The responses we got were overwhelmingly positive, although we also received some great suggestions on how to improve.  Overall it seems that EdCamp Ashland was a success and one that we hope to continue for many more years.  With the help of the right people, many organizations and the right attitude an edcamp can become a reality for any educator.

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*Our sponsor, Squirrels LLC, developed an affordable classroom screen  mirroring app that is used in more than 100,000 classrooms  in more than 200 countries and territories.  Reflector 2 is an app that runs on a teacher’s  computer and receives a real-time “mirror” image of classroom iPads, iPhones, Chromebooks, Android devices and SurfacePros.

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