The Power of the EdCamp Movement

What EdCamp Means to YOU.  Imagine the Professional Development you want, one that leaves you fulfilled, with countless meaningful resources and tools that you needed for an area of growth personal to JUST you. Hard to imagine, right? Here is where the EdCamp movement comes in. It is PD for YOU. Yes, I mean YOU choose the topics. YOU serve as the expert. YOU facilitate and lead the PD. And, if you aren’t receiving what you want, you stand up and leave. It’s that simple. You are given autonomy, purpose and drive to guide your PD experience.

Still not sure if this is reality? Read on.

Why EdCamp?  EdCamp was created out of a desire to promote more conducive professional development opportunities. In the era of de-professionalization towards the education profession, the EdCamp movement chooses to actively reverse third-party control of our learning opportunities, and place it back in the hands of the learners – YOU. It is a step towards regaining a voice as educators that we are experts in our own field, and can lead our own growth. No one leads an EdCamp other than the attendees, which means the fluidity of discussion is more organic as opposed to pre-described. Completely opposite of a conference, giving EdCamps the title of being an “un-conference.”Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 6.48.00 PM In our present classrooms, we are expected to differentiate for our students and encourage self-directed learning. Yet, how often is this provided for the teacher or school-based leader? Often we find Professional Development as a one-size-fits-all formality, normally derived for ease of the presenter as opposed to the needs of the learners. With time restraints in Professional Learning Communities occurring, it becomes difficult to provide the needed differentiation for staff, or rather the release of control for staff to guide their own learning. As a result, EdCamp chooses to provide an experience for all attendees to collaborate, share, and network for the betterment of their own instructional practices and leadership. It provides a safe haven for discussions, and evolves into a landscape of innovative learning opportunity for all involved.

So, What Does it Look Like? You begin the day by registering and making your way to a room which hosts a virtual session board. This is a collaborative document where all attendees can add areas of interest they desire to learn more about, or network on. From such, after a formal greeting, voting takes place on the top topics of the day, and thus the conference is “built.” Depending on the size of the host site, there are typically 20 different sessions throughout the day. You are welcome to attend any session, and do not have to pre-register. The glory behind an EdCamp lies in the ability not only for attendees to create the sessions, but also to leave when you are not being fulfilled, something EdCamp go-ers like to call, the “two-feet rule.” You have “two-feet,” so if you are finding a session irrelevant, you are welcome to walk to another one. The culminating component of an EdCamp is an App Smackdown in which participants have 90 seconds to share their top technology tools, or instructional practices that can be integrated into a classroom. All the resources are appropriately stored for share-out at the end of the conference, and door prizes are often given out.

Still not convinced? Truly, the only way to understand the power behind the EdCamp movement is to attend, contribute, and be transformed by the EdCamp model yourself. Join educators around the state and nation to further extend your Professional Learning Network. Check out the EdCamps below, and register today!

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 6.45.56 PM EdCamp Rowan: March 7th, 2015 @ Knox Middle School in Salisbury, North Carolina. Tickets are available here: bit.ly/edcamprss, and access for further information on the EdCamp Rowan WikiSite. Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 6.49.24 PM EdCamp QC: February 21st, 2015 @ Hawk Ridge Elementary School in Charlotte, North Carolina. Tickets are available, and further information provided on the EdCampQC Weebly.

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