On Saturday, April 26, 2014, I participated in my first EdCamp. I attended EdCampTC sponsored by the Burnsville School District. EdCamp is a fairly recent phenomena sweeping the nation. The first EdCamp was held in May 2010 in Philadelphia. Since that time, there have been over 200 EdCamp events held throughout the world. An EdCamp is a user-generated conference – commonly referred to as an “unconference”. EdCamps are designed to provide participant-driven professional development for K-12 educators. Since this was my first EdCamp, I didn’t know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed my day and I am looking forward to my next EdCamp.
The participants created a schedule of events throughout the day that were led and facilitated by those in attendance – no speakers, no presenters, just the experts in the room. I attended four sessions. One was on the concept new to me called “genius hour.” This is where you allow students some free time to explore their interests and passions. The second session I learned what makes for successful PLCs, Professional learning Communities. The third session had a lot of participants and the discussion was about leading in this digital age. I learned about the pillars of digital leadership: communication, public relations, branding, professional growth and development, student engagement and learning, opportunity, and learning environment and spaces. The last session of the day I helped facilitate the discussion around using Twitter to engage staff members.
I enjoyed attending my first EdCamp tremendously. I enjoyed being validated for what I am doing to lead in my school and I gained so many ideas and practices from others more experienced that I am. I am already thinking about ways to use this EdCamp format with my staff members next school year and I will certainly be seeking out other EdCamps to learn from others. For those educators who have never attended an EdCamp, put this on your “must do” list.