Over the past few years everytime I checked Twitter I would see people tweeting about this thing called EdCamp. Everyone who tweeted about EdCamp had nothing but positives to say. Teachers were claiming that EdCamps were the best form of professional development. EdCamps are unconferences in which there is no set agenda until that day. Unlike traditional conferences, there is no schedule you can check before hand. There are no company reps that have canned presentations ready to go. Instead EdCamps develop the days agenda that morning by allowing participants to suggest sessions and topics of discussion. At first I’ll admit I was a little skeptical of the idea. I mean I have seen how many teachers are during conferences and other professional development meetings so I wasn’t sure how this was going to work. Boy was I was wrong.
This past saturday I had the opportunity to attend my first Edcamp. It was an awesome experience that I wish every teacher could have. All of my doubts about teachers generating the agenda left within the first fifteen minutes. Teachers were suggesting sessions, talking about their sessions, and starting to work collaboratively before the opening speech was even given. It’s amazing to see what teachers can do when they are allowed to take charge of their learning.
While at EdCampLa I attended a few different sessions on topics that were interesting to me. There was no one telling me “Go to this session!”. I was able to take control and choose what I wanted to learn that day. One of the best parts about EdCampLa was that if I didn’t like a session for whatever reason, I could vote with my feet and leave. No one took offense to people leaving. No one made snippy comments. Instead it was just understood that if you left it wasn’t personal.
Needless to say I’m looking forward to my next EdCamp. I went by myself this time because I didn’t know what to expect but next time I go I plan on rolling deep and bringing as many of my teachers as I can. In closing I wanted to leave you with a tweet that Sean Junkins (@sjunkins) sent out during EdCamp that really sums up my thoughts.
EdCamp is everything a teachers lounge should be… Inspiring educators with engaging ideas.