Last Friday, my school had its first Edcamp-style teacher professional development. (I much prefer this term “Professional Development” rather than “Inservice” which to me carries with it an undertone of drudgery from past experiences.)
I’ve heard Edcamp referred to as an “unconference” format. In other words, there’s no hard-set plan laid out for the individuals attending. Each person chooses what sessions they would like to attend. They can choose day-of and have the freedom to change their minds as the Edcamp unfolds.
This was break-through learning and training for our campus. I knew it had great potential because I had been to a large Edcamp last fall, Edcamp Dallas. So, for our small campus, my only thought was, “Will teachers get involved and make this what they want?” You see, Edcamp does require some involvement. It takes people to step up and lead a sharing session. And those who choose to attend a certain session topic will make it even better by asking some questions or participating in discussion. There’s no sitting around planning the weekend events, cutting out bulletin board things, daydreaming of summer vacation as a speaker goes on. and on. and maybe on…
We had a great afternoon of 20 choices, thanks to teachers willing and ready to share what they are currently doing that’s made a positive change in their own classrooms. It’s so important for teachers to realize that teaching is improved by sharing and collaborating. If you’re doing something that’s going well, talk it up! Share it! Help someone incorporate it with what they’re doing.
Edcamp moves quickly and retains high interest among those attending because it’s all about personal choice. Choice to attend sessions of your liking. Pretty amazing. It’s a time provided to learn what you want to learn, that which will feed ideas into the classrooms and further teachers’ development. Imagine that.
I loved the sessions I attended. I didn’t plan it, but I wound up learning from a HS teacher, a MS teacher, a LS gifted teacher, and from tech support. In every session there was a mixture of grade levels represented. This tells me that the technology that’s being incorporated and enhancing our classrooms is adaptable and usable at all levels. Exciting!
I’m certain that there’s a lot going on at campuses everywhere and there’s a good chance that many on each campus don’t even know about it. Sad, but true. Every campus or school district should experience an Edcamp. It’s the perfect time to discover what’s happening under your noses, learn from each other, and celebrate the successes that are happening every day.
If choice for teachers is so beneficial in learning, imagine offering more choice in the classroom…Edcamp Classroom?