I recently had the good fortune to be given a ticket to attend Edcamp Boston. When I originally heard about this PD opportunity I registered too late…it was sold out. A techie friend of mine had an extra ticket that her colleague could not use…so I was off.
What is an Edcamp? Well, I would define it as a group of dedicated educators who gather together with no planned agenda to teacher each other and share conversations about good teaching practice. When I showed up, there was an empty grid on a large wall. Then it was announced that the conference agenda could begin to be built. Teachers who were interested in leading a session grabbed a sticky note, wrote their topic on the note and slapped it on the board…voila, an “unconference” schedule was born:
Topics were varied and there were many time slots that contained more than one session I wished to participate in. To give you an idea of the sessions, here is a small sample:
There were a great deal of things I took away from EdCampBos, but the immediate action item I am pursuing now is to work with my principal to convert at least one faculty mtg into a mini ed-camp before the end of the year. This is an idea that came from the session “What works in PD”. Several participants shared that they tried this at their schools (one initiated by the principal, the other initiated by the Tech Director) with great success. The reason it was successful, was because it was based on the premise of putting PD in the teachers own hands. When this occurred, not only did teachers have the opportunity to share with one another that day…but it lead to the formation of other group collaboration projects that the school, teachers and students benefitted from. It showed that administration trusted their staff to use their PD time effectively and it modeled what we as teachers ask our students to do: take risk with the assurance that failure is NOT bad, it is part of learning. It is a risky idea, but one worth advocating for.
Interested in attending an Edcamp yourself? You should! Check out this complete list!