The professional development event I have chosen to participate in is called EDCAMP. I have chosen this event because my girlfriend is currently studying in Ottawa to become a teacher and I happened to be visiting that weekend. She signed up to go to this event and I decided to tag along so I can do my assignment on this as well. At first I thought to myself why I would do my assignment on an event that is directed towards teachers but after attending such an event I realised the bigger picture. Yes, a lot of current students studying to become teachers and those who were already a teacher attended but the main purpose of this event was focused towards professional development. The fact that it was a teacher event did not matter, it was how individuals in this field can improve, adapt and learn new methods to better themselves as educators. Therefore, the journey does not end after obtaining a position in your desired field. You must continue to learn and educate yourself to acquire the skills and knowledge for both personal development and career advancement. This is a link to their word press: http://edcampottawa2013.wordpress.com/
What I Learned and Contributed
I had interacted with several people during this event because it was not a typical event where you sit down and have someone lecture you throughout the entire day. Conversations were built on ideas that were submitted at the beginning of the event by everyone who attended. Meaning the attendees controlled the discussions based on what they wanted to share or know about a particular subject. Whoever wanted to provide input on the topic did so. This was almost one giant brain storming event to help or educate one another. I did meet one of the organizers of the event who did participate as well. Her name was Erin Painter and she is a teacher in Ottawa. One of the topics she brought up during the event was how effective social media is when integrated with learning. There was moments throughout the day during the breaks where you could continue your conversations with people you have met, so I briefly spoke to her about this topic. I could not agree more with her. I then began giving her my opinion on how introducing social media for purposes other than leisure, at such an early age compared to myself learning about it now, gives these students a one up. It gives them insight on how such tools can be used professionally and possibly help develop their future. She then said that, ultimately that is what they are trying to establish. With the way that our society is moving with technology, our future will soon depend on the usage of these applications and tools. They must take necessary actions to adapt to the given situation. This allows teachers to use them where applicable as an aid to help the students learn. Figuring out different strategies to teach and deliver messages to students increases their learning.
Ideas Gained From Event
Regardless of the profession you choose, there is always room for improvement. The use of technology and social media will be our future. We must all learn to adapt to change and embrace new arising resources. Learning to use such tools for our advantage makes opportunities endless. It is our decision on how far we extend ourselves for career advancement. That being said, is it really enough to only use social media for the ways you already know or have been told? Or is it our responsibility to continue to explore these options further to improve? Exploring these options is what I walked away with from this event. The teachers do this not only to benefit themselves but they do it to incorporate these tools as much as possible in learning as a strategy for students to retain information. This is also done to familiarize the students with these applications and prepare them for their future. Social media applications are given to society for free for the most part, and it requires nothing from us in return. It is an aid that can be used for an endless amount of tasks. Why not continue to explore all different kinds in order to figure out which ones benefit you the most and determine how you can incorporate it with your field to improve your professional development.
Collect a Quote
“Teachers Matter” is a quote that I decided to use from the event that seems the most important and the one message that had the most emphasis. The body language, teaching methods and the way teachers choose to speak plays a vital role in teaching. Therefore, the development of teachers is not just for them. They advance themselves in order to become better educators for the students. The things students learn from teachers is what will ultimately help them in the future with their development. Teaching at an optimal level puts the students in a better position for their future.
Will I Attend a Similar Event in the Future
EDCAMP is an unconference meaning that events like this are loosely structured. This kind of conference focuses on the participants exchanging information and ideas in an informal manner, rather than following a structured program. I will attend another event like this in the future because this was one of the best experiences I had at an event. I hate being lectured and having a set plan that needs to be followed especially if the information being delivered isn’t interesting. I feel that I am able to retain more information at events like this due to the constant interactions.