Last summer I attended my first EdCamp, the nERdcamp in Battle Creek, MI.
I loved every moment of it! It was an enjoyment to be able to collaborate with your teaching peers without the sensation that you were being sold a program or being talked to by someone who hasn’t spent the time in the trenches like you have.
Why did I love attending an EdCamp?
1. It was teacher-led, teacher-produced, and teacher-friendly!
2. I made dozens of connections with like-minded professionals who were passionate about their profession.
3. It was casual. Everyone felt as though they could speak and share without any pressure.
4. I walked away with an awesome swag bag! Sponsors and donations galore!
5. There were so many different topics that headlined the breakout sessions, and all of them were voted upon by the participants. What we wanted to talk about was in demand and heard!
6. We were encouraged to take notes and share them with our colleagues. I kept a tab open on my computer for my Twitter (@teachmrsferrari) and another with a live Google Doc. I took notes and shared as each session was conducted. My friends did the same thing, and afterwards, we shared out the links.
Ultimately, it was because it was an UNconference!
The organizer, Colby Sharp, posted this list of 10 Reasons to Why You Should Come to NerdCamp, and they still ring true!
A great story to demonstrate the wonder of the EdCamp experience:
I was talking with one of the organizers and some of my Twitter PLN friends about an idea I had for the upcoming school year: Genius Hour. I had learned so much from a friend, Joy Kirr (@JoyKirr) and several #GeniusHour Twitter chats. Joy had been successful in her implementation and I was still in the planning process, never having actually conducted a Genius Hour sessions. The organizer of nERdcamp asked for me to host a session after lunch and talk about Genius Hour.
“Sure! I’d love you,” I replied, while in my head I was like, “WTH AM I DOING!?!??!”
Another friend, Bernice (@BHomel1) whom I had been talking to for months on Twitter and met for the first time that day, agreed to help me present. We immediately tweeted Joy and told her what we were about to do. Joy was thrilled, filled with, well, joy. She said she would add notes to a live Google Doc that we could post in the classroom and would add to it as we went through the session. And guess what! It was a grand success!
This experience was the embodiment of why I want to be able to attend as many EdCamps as possible. Unfortunately, there are not any being hosted in my area for the upcoming year. So, when life gives you lemons, you host your own dang EdCamp! I met with my administrator and he was all on board! We started talking very preliminary things, but the first step is getting approval!
Done and done!
Documents for Organizing an EdCamp: