From Portland to Pittsburgh, Seattle to Stockholm, Abu Dhabi to Atlanta, and in hundreds of towns and cities around the globe, authentic professional learning is energizing educators. Edcamps—participatory, teacher-driven professional learning events — are multiplying on a national and international scale, creating local and global communities of passionate educators.

The first Edcamp was organized by a group of teachers who came together in Philadelphia in May 2010 for BarCamp, a computer science unconference. At BarCamp, people create discussion sessions on the day of the event based on the interests in the room. The entire day is personalized and learner driven. It’s a place where everyone is a learner and everyone is a leader.

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After experiencing the passion, sharing and excitement that surrounded the event, a handful of other educators and I decided it was too good to contain. We exchanged contact information and, on Skype calls over a period of months, tweaked the design and adjusted the BarCamp concept to accommodate teachers and administrators.

About the Author:

Kristen Swanson is the founder of the Edcamp movement and co-wrote the book The Edcamp Model: Powering Up Professional Learning with Kevin Jarrett and Dan Callahan. She has worked as a teacher, administrator and curriculum writer, and she speaks internationally about instructional design in both face-to-face and online spaces. She currently works for BrightBytes to help people learn better using technology.

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