Edcamp Boston unconference was this Saturday. It was so successful many teachers left with the hope of doing the same type of unconference professional development model at their school. It can be a very hard sell to the powers that be because it can come out all wrong and counter intuitive and it sounds so unlikely to succeed…try it
- There were no keynote speakers.
- The map was hand drawn.
- The sessions were not organized in advance, so no one really knew what the day’s professional development would include beforehand.
- The 200 teachers who attend had to throw together sessions at the last minute with little or no planning.
- Impromptu learning sessions broke out in the corners of workspaces or on the floor under the session board. These were not announced.
- Everyone was acutely aware of being in one session and missing out on what was going on in another session.
- All the teachers attended on their own time
- Nobody got paid
- Resources and session materials were created mostly during the session by session participants and shared online openly with anyone.
- Most of course had the audacity to complain that, after a good eight hours of creating, collaborating and communicating, the time was too short and they all want to do it again soon…
What? It’s enough to make any regular conference organizer or administrator hang their head in their hands in disbelief. This quote from wikipedia doesn’t help either…but makes me laugh
Many unconference features match the characteristics of the traditional science fiction convention held since the 1930s, events which include many members of the geek community.
While not all of us would like to be described as geeks, many shared their excitement via Twitter..which qualifies.
Some of my favorites include…
@virtual_teach: I feel spoiled from #edcampbos …
@sguditus: #EdCampBOS has had my head spinning with new ideas for teacher PD…very exciting!
@kjHigginbottom: Timeliness of #EdCampBos on Sat? I’m interviewing candidates for my district’s IT Director position tomorrow – I’ve got new questions now!
@spanishtech: Still sifting through great ideas from EdCamp Boston 2011. QR code workshop fascinating and still demanding my ruminations! #edcampbos
@nkdawson: Great flipping classroom session. Now in iPad session! #edcampbos
I could have sat there and retweeted all day.
To sell the idea to your schools
Good teacher PR
Many were struck by how this is not the story of teachers you see on the news.
It should be. See this post from Harold Shaw Where were the newspapers for a great story
Many of the days sessions and activities were recorded via emailing links to the posterous site for the event.
My takeaways are many:
- I loved that it was all process, the day unfolded organically yet efficiently and there were so many interesting trails to follow.
- I loved that instead of giving answers, people were seeking out others, who had done what they wanted to try in their classroom, for advice.
- I left with more questions than answers, but this is not necessarily a bad thing.
- The flipping your classroom session included some teachers who were trying flipping their curriculum and they advised…
- Great tools include a youtube channel & a free blog
- Start slowly with short screencasts of curriculum material
- It was reported that students will probably resist at first as it goes against what they are used to and what they expect
- It helps if parents are sold on the idea ahead of time.
- @mrmusselman shared his curriculum materials on youtube and I have some links in delicious for flipcurriculum
- If you are a school technology integrator or librarian this flip model is easy to introduce. Flip your integration. Flip your library program (as much as you can). Model and share examples of teachers elsewhere flipping.
- In the next session on ipads I saw @bcdtech taking notes with her livescribe pen and was reminded what a great tool this was to create screencasts. Her recording of the session was uploaded with others from the day and shared on the posterous site. You can check them out here.
- In the spirit of the Does it suck session with @dancallahan
- It sucks that I’m probably not going to be able to behave at a regular conference anymore.
- It rocks that some of my bigger questions include:
- Can this model work for professional development in schools?
- Can students learn using this model if we gave the chance to try?
- The physical space of the microsoft NERD center made a big difference. There was something about the light and the openness that was conducive to …openness and I’m thinking there are many spaces like this empty over the weekend. What if…… a school could take advantage of that and figure out a way to run a regular Saturday unconference school session in a different space than school. BYOD.
If you missed edcamp Boston there are two unconferences coming up in the summer that you should definitely try to get to.
Edcamp CT August 18th 2011
Edubloggercon East July 25th 2011
I would encourage you to bring along someone from your school, admin or a student or two. It helps to have someone else who understands what you just went through and shares your passion to share.
This blogpost is officially full. Exactly the feeling I had at the end of the day Saturday. I was full. Of ideas.
FYI: Software trainer and online learning designerAbout Me