If you found yourself sitting in a conference that was sharing how to read student data through the lens of interpretive dance, you’d probably be wishing you could just walk (or pirouette) on out of there. One of the latest professional development concepts and its “rule of two feet” would allow you to do just that. When participants attend an edcamp, they have the ability to make relevancy their top priority. The power to choose and contribute makes edcamps unique and popular in today’s professional development circles.
Rather than being assigned to a conference session or being given a list of existing session topics, which can often feel like being told how to teach, edcamps put participants in the driver’s seat of planning. All attendees generate session topics, so the edcamp line-up consists of personally meaningful meetings where attendees are participating experts and contributors to teacher-driven discussions of their choosing. If you enter a session that is headed in a different direction than you had envisioned, the rule of two feet gives you the ability to walk out and find a new session that is more applicable to your current pedagogy.
These free and collaborative conferences are popping up in locations all over the U.S., and they’re also popping up on screens all over the globe. No ads, no vendors, just teachers connecting to share ideas, struggles, breakthroughs, etc. Whether it’s connecting via the internet with online edcamps or gathering in a common meeting space, personalized enrichment is at the forefront. Some edcamps may have a driving theme where attendees brainstorm session topics that apply to their own niche within a larger concept, and others truly run the gamut with whatever in-the-moment topics come to mind.
Theme-driven Edcamps may have an overarching concept where participants brainstorm session topics within the big idea of the day: Online & Blended Learning, Project- Based Learning, New Technology, Grade and/or Subject Specific Themes, Classroom Management
Past Edcamp breakout session topics have included: Hands-on Learning in Language Arts, Using Social Media, Gender/Identity in the Classroom, Digital Citizenship, Technology & Reading, Coding, Things that Suck, Apps for the iPad, Gamification & Student Engagement, Too Many Devices, STEAM Learning, GAFE
The beauty of edcamps is that they allow participants a forum to discuss anything and everything that applies to the ins and outs of education. Whether you’re joining in online or in person, the ability to drive the session choices and select those of personal interest can be a real game-changer when it comes to how attendees view professional development. These opportunities to dish the dish with fellow educators and have the ability to pirouette over to a different session to find the most meaningful takeaways possible make edcamps a very appealing alternative to traditional conferences.
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