Wednesday, July 15, 2015

One Day, One Hashtag

The morning opened with bright sunshine as travelers made their way to the Hamptons' shore.  It was a glorious day for beach frolic and splish-splashing fun, but something else was on tap for July 13, 2015. One-hundred and sixty-five educators from all over Long Island and as far away as Manhattan, Westchester, and even Georgia savored summer's moments in a totally different fashion.  What drew these travelers to Hampton Bays, Long Island was not the sun, but the lure of learning. 

You might find it odd that people who long for those lazy, hazy days of summer at the shore would be enticed by the ritual of congregating, collaborating, and learning indoors. You may also be surprised that on a day that held so much promise as a splendid beach day, Long Island educators traveled to Edcamp Leadership, an unconference designed by Joe Mazza and teams around the world. The Hamptons' event, led by Dennis Schug, was part of the national Edcamp Leadership experience connecting educators around the United States and Chile under one hashtag, #edcampldr.

The day was an exciting venture.  Meeting Twitter friends face-to-face, engaging in collaborative conversations, and soaking in the learning provided the layering effect that most Long Islanders look for at the beach. Instead of digging toes into the sand, minds wrapped around topics of interest. Virtual summer buckets were filled not with shells washed ashore but with success stories, tidbits of garnered knowledge, smiles, and laughter. While the Long Island educators only connected virtually with the Massachusetts' Edcamp, Joe Mazza set up Voxer chats with leaders at all sites. Leader to leader conversations were relevant and based on the vision of bringing together "forward-thinking school administrators, board of education members, classroom teacher leaders, parent/community members - anyone interested in K-12 public/private education - for a day of conversation, reflection and inspiration." (

As an added feature, NYEDChat moderators (Dan McCabe, Blanca Duarte, and Starr Sackstein), serious about connecting with colleagues, facilitated a special conversation from The Hamptons. Simultaneously, I ran a GHO interview session with newbie and veteran educators who shared their thoughts on the Edcamp Leadership experience. The GHO began with a welcome, followed by Ed Kemnitzer engaging in an articulate read-aloud of the poem I created for Edcamp Leadership. The hour-long on air interview ended with a reflection and thank you to Hampton Bays School District's Superintendent, Lars Clemensen, and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, Denise Sullivan, for hosting the event at the beautifully designed Hampton Bay's Middle School. During both the Twitter chat and interview, excitement for learning was generated to kick off the unconference in style.

A Peek Into Sessions:Edcamp Leaders Read - Reflect - Converse -Tweet


Take-Aways of the Day

"It was a great day of being together! I feel totally energized and renewed!   
 Debbie Olsen


One Day, One Hashtag

A vision of collaboration
crossing boundaries
connecting colleague to colleague
in a united effort.

Learning, laughing, conversing
in hopes of building a future-ready world
where voice and choice matter.
CVarsalona 2015


"What an incredible day of learning in The Hamptons!" Dan McCabe



"Relevant and tech literate OR irrelevant and tech illiterate. The choice is  yours." Paul McNeil 


From our Boston Edcamp Leadership Colleague who was part of the Rocks - Sucks Virtual Activity:



To round off the learning experience Amy Nardone interjected a touch of humor as she introduced colleagues to a new app, DubSmash.  The app allows you to express your feeling in video as Amy so aptly did to the tune of I Survived. I was delighted to join her rendition that sent a roar of laughter throughout the room.

Edcamp Leadership NY from The Hamptons

Beyond the learning, friendships were solidified, connections made, and energy filled the unconference making the trip to The Hamptons a memorable one. 

If you follow the Twitter feed for #edcampldr you will see that similar reactions were experienced by all involved around the states. At the end of the day Starr Sackstein and I, along with the other NYEDChat moderators, and EdCamp Leadership Hamptons' team were filled with energy, satisfied feelings, and hope for continued collaboration with fellow Long Islanders. Edcamp Leadership brought this under the mantra of "One Day, One Hashtag."

As with all engaging conferences, one needs to balance work and free time. At the end of the day, the Edcamp Leadership Long Island team and colleagues congregated at a favorite spot, Cowfish in Hampton Bays. It was a pleasurable ending to an unbelievable day of connecting!

Relax - Reflect - Find Balance Throughout the Summer!

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