October was Connected Educator month. Remake Learning previously posted an article about the incredible value of online connections for educators.  However, the facilitators of edcampPGH also wanted to highlight a special event scheduled in Pittsburgh that brought many educators together for a free day of conversations and learning.

On Saturday, October 5th, a mix of parents, education non-profit organizers, teachers, and administrators from public, public charter schools, as well as private schools, interested in discussing educational issues, met at City High for Pittsburgh’s first edcampPGH. The majority who attended were from Southwest Pennsylvania, and some came from as far away as Philadelphia, Oregon, and Maryland.

To do justice to all the learning and connections made at this grassroots  event, we decided to capture the day in photos.

Rob Furman giving the opening mini-keynote about being a connected educator / Photo: Norton Gusky

Rob Furman giving the opening mini-keynote about being a connected educator / Photo: Norton Gusky

After coffee and conversation, we decided what we wanted to talk about during the day. Dr. Rob Furman, an elementary principal from the South Park School District, kicked off the event with a mini-keynote about the importance of being connected and how to best leverage those connections for students.

Attendees suggested topics for sessions on Post-It Notes. / Photo: Norton Gusky

Attendees suggested topics for sessions on Post-It Notes / Photo: Norton Gusky

Suggested topics becoming finalized sessions on the session wall, with organizer Lisa Abel-Palmieri posting the schedule online / Photo: Norton Gusky

Suggested topics becoming finalized sessions on the session wall, with organizer Lisa Abel-Palmieri posting the schedule online / Photo: Norton Gusky

Sessions were as varied as the attendees, and ranged from workshops on specific tools to use in the classroom like Celly or SWoRD, to general topics of community partnerships, mentoring new teachers, and the role of the teacher as technology allows learning to happen anywhere.

Discussion in an edcampPGH session / Photo: Norton Gusky

Discussion in an edcampPGH session / Photo: Norton Gusky

Aaron Sams discusses flipped learning / Photo: Brittany Baxter

Aaron Sams discusses flipped learning / Photo: Brittany Baxter

Amil Cook facilitating a session about incorporating hip-hop culture into pedagogy / Photo: Norton Gusky

Amil Cook facilitating a session about incorporating hip-hop culture into pedagogy / Photo: Norton Gusky

A student plays a Propel Schools game at the Innovation Lounge / Photo: Norton Gusky

A student plays a Propel Schools game at the Innovation Lounge / Photo: Norton Gusky

In between and during sessions there are plenty of things to do and talk about. During lunch there was an Innovation Lounge, where organizations doing exciting and new things around Pittsburgh, had an opportunity to share their program with attendees.

Math teacher Justin Aion introduces Twitter to fellow math teacher, Stacee Barefoot / Photo: Zee Ann Poerio

Math teacher Justin Aion introduces Twitter to fellow math teacher, Stacee Barefoot / Photo: Zee Ann Poerio

How can we continue to have educational conferences but never invite key players to the conversation?  The key ingredient of the day that made the event so phenomenal was the active participation of students. Youth were present and participated in most sessions. They shared their ideas, from how peer reviews improve their skills to ideas on how to incorporate Minecraft in their classes. Many students even lead sessions.

Teen Bloc students from City High, Stephanie and Aranda, present the Student Bill of Rights / Photo: Katie Bordner

Teen Bloc students from City High, Stephanie and Aranda, present the Student Bill of Rights / Photo: Katie Bordner

Student volunteers help bring in lunch provided by Marty's Market / Photo: Katie Bordner

Student volunteers help bring in lunch provided by Marty’s Market / Photo: Katie Bordner

EdcampPGH would not have been nearly as successful without students, nor without our amazing sponsors. We thank them for their participation and support in making edcampPGH a successful and positive event!

The organizers of edcampPGH hope this is the first of many more edcampPGH in the area. We are looking to host the next one in the spring at The Ellis School. We hope to continue to engage educators, youth and communities in meaningful conversations during a free and fun day of learning!

You haven’t got enough of edcampPGH? Good! There’s more online, like Zee Ann Poerio’s great Animoto video of photos she took during the event, and of course, edcampPGH’s Twitter feed, where you can get a sense of the conversations, resources and ideas that were exchanged.