This past weekend, 200+ educators ignored Environment Canada’s weather notice of sun, and braved the indoors on their Saturday to participate in the latest EdCamp held in the Lower Mainland (Metro Vancouver, for those newer to the area). For those that haven’t heard of this amazing event, it is a free educational ‘unconference’ where educators, students and parents both facilitate and participate in the conversations in sessions. There is an official site here that helps educators understand the process of how to set up their own EdCamp and where EdCamps are being held around the world.
EdCamp35 was organised by the great educators in Langley School District, @sdavids51 @ChrisWejr @MsVictoriaOlson @Teachinginthe21 and @thinklangley. Their hard work in setting up the conference allowed for a smooth integration of the sessions, lunch, and sharing opportunities. Without them, it would have been just a bunch of people hanging out at R.E. Mountain Secondary School on a Saturday (think Breakfast Club without the cool music).
Some of my thoughts after attending #EdCamp35:
1. Many of those attending are on Twitter, which is great, but how do we reach those not using social media?
2. The whole concept of the “wisdom in the room” is a great way to share ideas/actions that directly affect student learning.
3. Having parents and students in the same room as teachers really allows for a broader conversation, where everyone learns.
4. Voting with your feet, without hurting anyone’s feelings, is a great way for the sessions to be more personalised for each participant.
5. Sessions are built around participants’ interests. There are no presenters, only participants and facilitators. Everyone learns!
Above is one session that was looking at Good Teaching. We had student teachers, practicing teachers and administrators all in the room. The discussion was deep and went in many different directions around what makes a good teacher, but also who helps in creating those opportunities for great teaching. There was no ‘one person’ in control of the discussion and everyone had an opportunity to share their story.
I see this model a great way to bring staff together and would love to see it in my school for professional development days or for staff meetings. How powerful would a staff meeting be, if it were designed around the principles of EdCamp?
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the opportunity to meet many in my twitter PLN was immeasurable. Especially the very first meeting of the moderators of the #BCEdChat. I had met Christine Younghusband already, but meeting Jeremy Inscho in person was a treat. Meeting Victoria Olson, almost a year after we co-founded the #BCEdChat on Sundays was an experience that was too long in the making.
@MsVictoriaOlson @ChristineYH @brynmw @JeremyInscho
Thank you to everyone who participated to make this Saturday of learning a great thing!