Why not attend or host an Edcamp to network with colleagues locally who share your interest in teacher-driven and participatory professional development? You can find links to many Edcamps happening across the country in the Calendar section of Educator Innovator. You can also learn more about the Edcamp movement and upcoming Edcamps by visiting the Edcamp Wiki at http://edcamp.wikispaces.com.
Edcamps are unconferences for educators where learners share their experiences and their professional expertise in a collaborative, interactive learning environment. Edcamps are based on Open Space Technology (OST) which Michelle Boule describes as learning where “whoever comes are the right people and whatever happens are the only things that could have.”
An authentic Edcamp has the following features:
- free: Edcamps should be free to all attendees. This helps ensure that all different types of teachers and educational stakeholders can attend.
- non-commercial and with a vendor free presence: Edcamps should be about learning, not selling. Educators should feel free to express their ideas without being swayed or influenced by sales pitches for educational books or technology.
- hosted by any organization or anyone: Anyone can host an Edcamp. School districts, educational stakeholders, and teams of teachers have hosted Edcamps. YOU could be the next Edcamp organizer!
- made up of sessions that are determined on the day of the event: Edcamps do not have scheduled presentations. During the morning of the event, the schedule is created in conjunction with everyone there. I know it sounds crazy, but it works! Sessions end up being spontaneous, interactive, and responsive to participants’ needs.
- events where anyone who attends can be a presenter: Anyone who attends an Edcamp is able to be a presenter. All teachers and educational stakeholders are viewed as professionals worthy of sharing their expertise in a collaborative setting.
- reliant on the law of two feet that encourages participants to find a session that meets their needs: As anyone can host a session, it is critical that participants can actively self-select the best content and sessions. Edcampers are encouraged to leave sessions that do not meet their needs. This provides a uniquely effective way of “weeding out” sessions that are not based on appropriate research or not delivered in an engaging format.
Visit the Edcamp wiki at http://edcamp.wikispaces.com!