Transforming the Conference
Submitted by Kylie Cafiero on Tue, 04/24/2012 - 8:00am
What happens when a bunch of educators take the traditional conference and shake it to its core? EdCamp is what happens. Currently trending across the nation, North Carolina had its first free education un-conference, EdCamp, this past weekend at North Carolina State University.
“What makes this un-conference, EdCamp, so exceptional is the ‘just-in-time’ professional development it generates. This is an opportunity for teachers to discuss the issues they have and work together to find solutions,” said Bethany Smith, Assistant Director of Learning Technologies in the College of Education and EdCamp co-organizer.
Edcamp is an organic, participant-driven professional development for K-12 educators. Participants, generated mainly through social media, show up to the location with ideas of what they would like to discuss. There is no planned agenda prior to that morning. Topics, weighing on the minds of these educators, are written on a board, and participants pick their session and off they go.
"I really enjoyed the un-conference format of Edcamp,” said Paul Cancellieri, participant and local teacher. “The biggest advantage for me was the discussions that took place, rather than presentations. We are constantly promoting student-centered learning in our classrooms (instead of ‘sage on the stage’ style teaching), but until now I've never been treated to the same style of professional development.”
Over 100 teachers, including NC State University pre-service teachers, participated in the event. Each participant attended four, 50-minute sessions on topics ranging from teaching students off grade level to iPad use in the classroom. The day ended with a Web 2.0 Smackdown during which participants each had 90 seconds to show their favorite Web 2.0 tool.
EdCamp was organized by a committee of educators, from both the University and school districts across North Carolina. Sponsors include: The EdCamp Foundation; Edutopia; Edmodo, Wonderopolis; Inspiration Software; LiveScribe; and Evernote. For more information about the 2012 EdCamp visit: www.edcampnc.org
Check out some of the participants’ thoughts on the day: