The Edcamp movement will celebrate its six birthday this spring and no one could have predicted the level of success for this grassroots, educator-driven professional development movement. The first Edcamp, the brainchild of a few thoughtful Philadelphia educators in 2010, has evolved to 700 Edcamps in more than 25 countries around the world and the creation of the Edcamp Foundation.
I had the good fortune of attending Edcamp Boston yesterday and I am happy to report that the movement continues to thrive. The energy and passion of the over 200 educators who showed up in Cambridge were incredible. As I reflect on Edcamp Boston, and my numerous Edcamp experiences, I see a distinct correlation between what makes Edcamps so successful and what we need for all learners.
- Choice matters - This is not breaking news, but when learners have a voice in what they are learning there are much higher levels of engagement. The adults in an Edcamp certainly exemplify this. I still wonder what would happen if we ran school for one day and allowed the students to choose their room and their topic? I bet we would be surprised at the depth of conversations and learning that would take place.
- Networking - It’s funny how this works out. When you get to choose the room and topic that you will discuss, you end up meeting some pretty neat people who share your interest. When we get these folks connected some pretty amazing things can happen. Just look at the educators who started the Edcamp movement for a concrete example. Imagine if all of our teachers got to have this type of learning experience...
- Listen to educators - Last, but not least, the creation of the schedule at an Edcamp is something to behold and Edcamp Boston was no different. The blank board filled up quickly and the schedule that was created by attendees contained some of the most important topics facing educators today. Teaching tolerance, Maker spaces, STEM, and Innovative technology ideas were just a few of the topics that filled the big board. Check it out here for yourself. Many of the topics have links to resources on the areas that were discussed. If you want to get a handle on what the issues are impacting teacher, just head to an Edcamp and check out the schedule.
Thanks to Edcamp Boston organizers pictured below Dan Callahan, David Hochheiser, Karen Janowski, Laura D’Elia, Steve Guditus, and Tracy Sockalosky (along with Edcamp Foundation Executive Hadley Ferguson).
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