Edcamps have been springing up across the country as a “grassroots movement in educator professional development“. The definition of an Edcamp according to the Edcamp foundation is “a form of unconference designed specifically for teachers and their needs“. Edcamps are always free. Edcamps flow. It’s living, breathing professional development that is determined by the educators who attend it. Edcamps are similar to TeachMeets, but the Edcamp schedule is created on the day of the Edcamp by the attendees. My friend @angiebush always mentions how Edcamps are governed by the law of two feet – you are free to come and go as you please in each session depending on what you are learning. It’s not rude to be on your device and take notes or tweet. At my last Edcamp, a student presenter came by to see if I needed help accessing their site, and I told her I was busy tweeting about my learning.
My first official Edcamp was Edcamp Atlanta in 2012, then Edcamp Madison, AL in 2013. I have been back to both Edcamps and am now helping organize Mississippi’s first Edcamp – edcampjxnMS! So why would I help organize an Edcamp two and a half hours away from me, in a state I don’t even live in with a team of four other educators, three of whom I’ve never met in person?
Because Edcamps are needed. Edcamps provide a comfortable atmosphere where teachers can confess, teachers can encourage, and teachers can brainstorm. I like Edcamps because the most beneficial sessions I attend or present are the ones in which no one person shares the spotlight. Those sessions focus on a question and we each share answers that have worked in the past. We are all a part of learning. Why not share what we learn or share what we want to learn?
Edcamps provide an atmosphere where teachers can confess, encourage, and brainstorm
Edcamp provides you with a community of educators who want to spend a day learning. The learning is determined by what we think we need as well as what we learn organically. Edcamp connects you with educators you would not otherwise meet.
At EdcampMadisonAL 2014, there were a variety of student presenters sharing how they learned through Project-Based Learning, Google Drive and infographics. These teenage students at James Clemens High School and Bob Jones High School spent a Saturday telling teachers how they learned. They were articulate, honest and awesome.
You never know what you may find at an Edcamp. Each city’s Edcamp is different. Some Edcamps have amazing doorprizes – like two Apple TVs – up for grabs. Some Edcamps have games, including food fights in the cafeteria. All Edcamps have food and fellowship with educators of various levels of experience. So look here and see when the next edcamp in your area is.
Go! Bring your teacher friends! Meet someone you don’t know! And share your learning at Edcamp!
The sharing should not end at Edcamp. Share what you learn at Edcamp with those back at your home educational institution. By disseminating information and connecting educators with one another via twitter or in real life, then we can become the viral agents to encourage change for a brighter future of education.