EdCampNJ 2016 featured

EdCampNJ 2016 Reflection | Sierra Gratale (@SierraGratale)

9:44 PMChristopher Nesi

Photo credit: Kevin Jarrett
By Sierra Gratale

I am an aspiring educator, studying IT at Rutgers University. I jump at any opportunity to be surrounded by passionate educators. This past year has opened new doors for learning about education. Saturday's unconference was my first Edcamp experience, and it only took one Edcamp to get me hooked. My goal in attending this Edcamp was to be an observer and soak in the atmosphere and experience while choosing the direction I wished to pursue for the day. I had no idea what to expect, and that’s what made my experience so great. My only expectation for the day was to walk away having learned at least one thing.

Edcamp surprised me! I didn’t expect it to be a casual open environment in which everyone’s thoughts and ideas were heard, valued, and discussed, regardless of the level of understanding or number of teaching years under one's belt. Edcamp reminded me a bit of a real-life education Twitter chat. I did not realize it, but I have been yearning for an environment that encouraged such passionate sharing and collaboration. 

I found the experience to be incredibly powerful. I loved being surrounded by people whose main goal in life is to better the lives of the upcoming generation, and all of these people are incredibly willing to share their successes and embrace any failures, which was truly inspiring. The energy in the room emitted enthusiasm to listen and learn. I took so much away from my unique experience and my interactions that I cannot wait to apply to my future classroom.

This was my first Edcamp, and it won’t be my last.

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Sierra Gratale is currently a Senior at Rutgers University where she is studying Information Technology and aspires to one day be a Teacher of Technology. Connect with Sierra on Twitter: @SierraGratale

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