Introduction to EdCamps

By Monica Burns 04.20.2015 blog

Most teachers are natural lifelong learners. They constantly seek opportunities to learn about the latest best practices in education, whether through blogs, conferences, specialty books or webinars. Now, many teachers are adding EdCamps to this list. These “unconferences” have grown in popularity over the past few years and are an amazing way for teachers to come together for meaningful professional development.

What is an EdCamp?

EdCamps are designed to meet the professional development needs of teachers. They’re known as “unconferences” because they challenge what we normally associate with a day of learning. Teachers show up at a set location at a set time, but there’s no pre-set schedule. When teachers arrive, there is a blank session board where they can write in topics of interest. Teachers can take the lead and share something that they are passionate about, or request a topic that they’d like to have a discussion around. Attendees arrive early and watch the board grow with topics, while the event organizer organizes the schedule and makes sure everyone knows where to go when.

Where do EdCamps happen?

EdCamps take place all over the world and even online. Most are held on Saturdays at a school building, often just once a year, and attendance ranges from 50 to 500. The great thing about attending an EdCamp at a school is that you have a chance to walk around a building in your community, visit different classrooms and network with teachers from your region.

Can I start my own EdCamp?

You can visit this site to learn more about current EdCamp locations. Don’t see one in your region? Visit this site to find out about starting your own and to receive support from like-mined educators. Not only have many teachers started their own EdCamps, but some have used this model at faculty meetings. Instead of having a planned schedule, schools will ask teachers to come to a faculty meeting with some ideas of what they would like to learn about or share with colleagues. It’s a neat way to change up the traditional way professional development takes place in your school building.

Professional learning is an important part of any career. As teachers, we have lots of choices when it comes to gathering information and hearing new ideas about best practices. Instead of picking up a professional text or signing up for a traditional conference, why not attend an EdCamp this year?

Monica Burns is an Education Consultant, EdTech Blogger, and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.

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