Why attend EdCamp CT?

I have a love/hate relationship with professional development. I like getting better at teaching. I like hearing from people who are smarter and/or more experienced than I am. Unfortunately, my experience with "official" school-district provided professional development is too often...um...less than stellar.

This less than stellar PD is one of the main reasons Twitter has been an amazing resource. It allows my professional development to be self-directed: focusing on what I want help with when I want help with it. As great as the Twitter was (and continues to be) for this, I missed the face-to-face interactions that can't happen over the Twitter.

Fortunately, EdCamp is a thing. It combines the just-in-time, self-directed professional development I enjoy from Twitter with the great face-to-face conversations I value so much from traditional professional development. It also happens to be free (which is a bonus, because it's worth my hard-earned money).

What makes EdCamp different?

Well, quite a lot, actually.

  1. It's democratic. At the beginning of the day the participants propose sessions and design the schedule for the day.
  2. It's participatory. Sessions at EdCamps are encouraged to be conversations between the session leaders and participants. No hour long terrible comic-sans slide decks with one person droning on. I promise.
  3. It's organized and run entirely by volunteer educators. Sure there are sponsors to help pay for lunch, prizes, and so on, but there's no exhibitor hall with salespeople hawking their wares or sessions that are just sales pitches. In fact, if such a sales-pitch session did happen you would be encouraged to...
  4. ...vote with your feet. If you find yourself in a session that just isn't the topic you had hoped it would be, you can leave. It's not just okay to walk out, it's encouraged. We don't want you to waste your time sitting through a session you don't find applicable to your needs. In fact, you can wander in and out as you please. Or skip a session if you simply need time to organize your thoughts or even take a break.

If you're free August 10, 2012 and in the New England region, you should attend EdCamp CT. It'll be a great day of professional development with passionate educators from all over the region1. You can register for EdCamp CT here. I hope to see you there!


  1. There might even be amazing potato chips again... (back)

The "It's been awhile" update

So, yeah...it's been a while...

I'd better do an update, since a few things have happened since my last post in...um...May:

EdCamp CT

A few short months ago Dan Agins and I were attending EduCon in Philly when fellow Connecticutian Sarah Edson waltzed up nonchalantly and pitched,  "I think we should throw an EdCamp in Connecticut this year, you in?!!"  We were in, and it'll be happening in just under a week (as I write this). There are 125 people signed up (plus a wait list!), and we are all1 really excited to meet every one and learn all we can next week.


My brother got married in July, which gave my wife and I an excuse to visit Chicago and traipse across the MidWest and take in ballgames at two new ballparks together2. We both grew up in in Michigan and Chicagoland,  so it was nice to spend the week eating at all the restaurants visiting places we missed.

Back to school

I taught Physics for 5 years (even though I wasn't "highly qualified" in Physics) several school years ago and really enjoyed the entire experience. Ever since I've talked about going back to get my Physics certification. Due to some new circumstances I'm planning on taking a year off from teaching so I can go back and get both my Physics and Chemistry certifications.

I'm not crazy about being out of the classroom for a year (not to mention the lack of a regular paycheck), however, I think this will open up new teaching opportunities that will be both rewarding and challenging. It's a risk3,  but one I hope will pay dividends in the end.

In addition, since I'll be taking Calculus-based Physics this fall I've also been working to brush up on my calculus skills. I did decent in calculus during my undergrad years,  but my last calculus class was held in the fall of 1997. I'm a bit rusty. To brush up, I've been using MIT's OpenCourseWare to "take" their Single-Variate Calculus class this summer. I've discovered so far that I can do the calculus, but my algebra and trigonometry need some work.

Blog plans

This year's been a bit rough on the ol' blog. My posting hasn't exactly been regular. However, I've repeatedly found that the simple act of writing out my ideas in this public format helps me to think more deeply about instruction and education. While the feedback I receive from readers is also greatly appreciated, simply forcing myself to turn ideas in my head to text on the page is valuable enough to continue writing4.

Since I've been slacking on the writing I need a plan. Here it is:

  1. Post 1-2 times a month with a project or lesson that I've either used successfully in the classroom but haven't shared yet or sharing a new lesson or project that I've just created. I'm (perhaps unnecessarily) worried that I'll lose my instructional design chops. I'll hopefully design these lessons around content I'm covering in my classes this year.
  2. A "What I'm Reading" series. I tend to read a lot of science-y or education-related books, and I'd like to share basic reviews of these books here. I'll be a bit selective here. If I get into teenage vampire literature, for example, I probably will not include those books in the series. However, you can follow everything I read using the handy LibraryThing widget located on the right sidebar of the blog. Or you can view my LibraryThing library directly. I also welcome your suggestions. Drop 'em in the comments or send them to me via twitter. These will be posted as I finish the books.
  3. Sharing websites, posts, images, videos, etc. that relate to the general science and education theme of this blog. While  I do have a posterous site where I share all the "Random awesomeness I encounter," I'll try to keep the posts to this site more focused. I'll plan on posting in this category approximately once a week.
  4. Some personal photos, reflections, stories, etc. I'd like this space to be a little more "me" as opposed to just the science and education "me." Postings will occur as the whim occurs.
I'm creating dedicated "writing time" a few days each week to keep up with my plan. Feel free to call me out if I start to slack. 🙂


  1. Let me not neglect Marialice Curran, Stephanie Fuhs, and Tracy Mercier, who are also co-organizers and have done a ton of work getting EdCampCT ready to go.     (back)
  2. We're attempting to visit every major league ballpark, and picked Miller Park in Milwaukee & PNC Park in Pittsburgh on this trip, which I believe has us up to 15 ballparks total.     (back)
  3. The economy is not exactly stellar, but a teacher with Earth Science, Chemistry, and Physics certifications should be able to find jobs no problem. Right? RIGHT?!     (back)
  4. I imagine the readership of this site isn't very large given my erratic posting as of late.     (back)