Practical SoMe: #MadWriting, post-#EdCamp


What happens to learning that isn't used? A high point of my life-long learner odyssey has been my discovery of #EdCamp last fall. But, given that EdCamp attendees come mostly from K-12, there isn't much that I can actually use right out of the box. I have to reflect a lot on what I see and hear. Which brings me to what happened a little while ago.


When I opened Twitter just before lunch this morning I saw the #MadWriting hashtag. Some of the people I follow use the hashtag to encourage each other to write, intensely I think, for periods of time of varying lengths. The writing session I had seen was for 30 minutes. It got me to thinking.

I'm an episodic blogger at best. Aside from the writing I do for work (I'm an instructional designer) the only other writing I do regularly is tweet. I like participating in #lrnchat, #chat2lrn, #txed, #tlap and some other tweetchats in the education and training spaces.

Curious, I asked the MadWriters (who happen to be scientists) if I had to be a member of that population to participate. I was happy to learn that no, it wasn't limited to scientists: anyone could participate.

So thus encouraged I decided to give it a try.


In February I participated in three EdCamps:




As I mentioned earlier, I'm an instructional designer. I like to create engaging learning experiences for the learners I support. I'm always on the lookout for new things to try: learning strategies, activities, alternative assessments to name a few. Some of things I've learned at earlier EdCamp sessions include things like Genius Hour, Problem/Project-based learning (PBL), Flipping, Teaching Like A Pirate (TLAP), Gamification, and Design Thinking (DT).


The first time or two I learn about something, Genius Hour and Gamification for example, I pick up enough to know I'm interested in finding out more. This is like a college 100 series class: some general knowledge and a desire to find out more, or not. A few more EdCamps and it's like TLAP 300 or PBL 400. By this time I have a good idea what it is and am beginning to figure out how it can inform my work and how it might be applied.


Of course during each event I'm taking notes. I started out scribbling rapidly, desperate not to miss something. Only of course I did. Later I tried Sketchnoting with mixed results. Lately I'm having more success with doodling my notes and taking pictures. Lots of pictures that I upload to Flickr. I think the photos and doodles help the most because they connecting me in an analog sort of way to the experience and I can remember more.


So the MadWriting session began at 1:30 ET and here it is some 42 minutes later. It's helping. Even though I'm immersed in the writing of this blog post I'm conscious that there are others writing, too. So the motivation isn't coming from encouraging words heard or read. It's knowing there are others out there banging away at keys or scribbling or whatever.


There are pressures though. My lunchtime is just about over. So the post has to draw to a close. I suppose I could save this and continue later. Only that's where my problem was before: not writing. So I think I should close on that note. Maybe later, during other MadWriting I'll start out with an outline rather than, more a less, just do an information dump. With practice comes mastery, right?





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