Last week as part of CEP811 I got to participate in a sort of EdCamp experience. We used GoogleHangout to meet up with several of our classmates and discuss ideas that we have been studying. I brought the topic of MakerCulture to the table. I have become very interested in this idea. I wanted to hear from others about how they see this working in the high school setting. I was also curious what technological infrastructure other schools were working with. It was great to get feedback from my classmates about their own experiences.
This type of conversation has amazing potential for the teaching profession. So often the professional development setup for teachers is a one size fits all approach.
It is hit or miss in terms of effectiveness and usefulness. I know of quite a few teachers who completely dread PD days. EdCamp allows teachers to connect with others about topics that are interesting and relevant to them at the moment. Teachers themselves are often experts and school districts fail to capitalize on this amazing resource. EdCamp would allow teachers to share their knowledge, connect with others who they may not usually interact with and grow in ways not possible in a sit and listen type PD.
There are several things to consider in trying to organize an EdCamp. The first would be participant buy-in. EdCamps only work if people are willing to participate. I think giving participants information on what an EdCamp is and maybe a short video on what it will look like, would help people be more willing to try out this type of experience. Another consideration would be physical space and presentation tools. It would be important to have access to several different types of spaces that could work for different size groups with differing needs. It would also be important to establish group norms so that the EdCamp does not become one person on a soap box. It is important that EdCamps remain a safe space for all people to contribute.
I would really like to see the introduction of this type of learning experience for the teachers in my school district. I know that many of the teachers would welcome something new, in which they felt valued.
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