Today I participated in my first “Ed Camp.” Johnston County Schools, where I work, sponsored their first ever Ed Camp. I really didn’t know what to expect because from what I knew, these events are billed as “the un-conference.”
A great video explaining the concept of Ed Camp can be found HERE from edcamp.org. The event does not have pre-planned sessions. The organizers set up the logistics (location, session rooms, times for sessions) but the topics for the sessions come organically from the participants. At the beginning of the day there is a time where participants gather and list potential topics (on stickies or note cards) they would like to discuss or learn more about. Then the organizers take stickies/cards and see which types of topics are requested the most. The sessions are then “named” and given a location to meet. Anyone who is interested in that topic can go to that room. Our agenda was created electronically by the organizers and shared so we could then see which sessions were offered, the times and where.
Once in the room, the magic begins. Since there is not anyone “in charge” of the session, there is no planned presentation or facilitator. After everyone gets into the room, people just start asking questions pertaining to the topic. As they do, others share resources and what works/does not work for them.
I think the best part of it is that the people there, WANT TO BE THERE. Because of this, they are engaged and are talking about topics that are of interest to them. Because its on a Saturday, people are giving up their own time and you know that everyone wants to be there. Everyone is intrinsically motivated to become better at their craft. Everyone there is a life-long-learner.
What’s also great is that you get to connect with awesome educators from all over. Twitter handles, emails and blogs are shared so the learning and the connections continue long after the event occurs.
This is educational collaboration at its best. We are truly learning from one another, and the strength is that everyone brings their own bit of knowledge and genius to the table. Think if other professions did this! What learning could occur!!
Although today was my first Ed Camp, it definitely will not be my last!! Thanks to the team that organized #edcampjoco!