Have you ever been in a professional learning (PL) experience where you don’t keep looking at the time, checking Facebook, or texting people? I have! I spend several Saturdays a year at an Edcamp, an unconference-style professional development (PD) for all educators. You might be wondering why I would give up a Saturday to attend an Edcamp, so here are 10 reasons why you will love Edcamps as much as I do.
1. You are with rockstar educators from all walks of life. The energy at an Edcamp is electric! Rooms are buzzing with passionate people ready to learn to support students and make positive change in schools.
2. It is the perfect place to build your professional learning network (PLN). You will meet many of your Twitter connections face to face and encounter new faces to connect with on Twitter. Edcamps build relationships that last long after the Saturday event. I now have plenty of people to reach out to when I do not know the answer to something.
3. There is no schedule with EdCamps. The participants build the schedule, so the topics are what they want to discuss—not topics chosen by those running the event.
4. You can create a topic to discuss or simply join a conversation. There are no formal presentations. It is a time for people to sit and chat like you are at a campfire, discussing best practices and questions you might have.
5. There is a “think with your feet” motto. Everyone understands that we all have our own professional needs. If a session is not working for you, it is acceptable to get up and find another session that works better.
6. Learning is personalized. There is no one-size-fits-all model with PD at Edcamps. You are in the driver’s seat, choosing sessions you want to attend. By building a schedule as a group there is a lot of voice and choice. Check out the session board created at #edcampsemass to see an example.
7. Every session has note takers. If you cannot make it to every session you want, it is easy to learn more on your own time. The session board contains links to notes taken that include the people in the session. You can build your PLN and learn more after leaving the Edcamp!
8. Each Edcamp has a hashtag to follow on Twitter. You don’t need to even attend an Edcamp to learn. Hop on Twitter and follow the hashtags. The session board is also shared, so you can follow along anytime anywhere.
9. Edcamps are happening all over the country. They must be doing something right as every year more Edcamps get added to the calendar.
10. You can start your own. Edcamp makes it very easy to organize your own and even sends you an Edcamp in a box. There are also plenty of other organizers out there who share resources.
Edcamp is all about sharing ideas and fostering a collaborative spirit among educators. These Saturday mornings provide a place for educators to ask questions, challenge each other, and grow. If people are on their devices it is because they are Tweeting good ideas to their followers. It is worth getting up early on a Saturday for!
- Cheers and questions as some states and big school districts remove virtual learning option for fall - June 18, 2021
- 4 steps to support student mental health as schools reopen - June 17, 2021
- Data doesn’t talk–people do - June 17, 2021