Updated: Apr 9, 2019
Ok, guys, I have been to many edcamps before and I will go to many more after this blog post. But I just wanted to take a minute and share why attending an Edcamp is important for educators of any level!
Let's address the question, "What is an Edcamp?" OK so, in my opinion, an Edcamp is a place where you go to learn, lead and repeat. What do I mean by that? Let's break it down.
First, we are learners, lead learners in fact. We are there to learn from others. Learn about techniques, strategies, pedagogies, tools, whatever it is - we are there to learn. In fact, the very first thing you do at an edcamp is write down a topic on a sticky note that you want to learn about. Have more than one? Great! Write down as many topics as you want. Another great feature of edcamps is that we lead our learning by using the law of two feet. Meaning if we are not jiving in a session we get up and go to another session. It isn't frowned upon if we get up and leave.
Second, we are leaders. We all have something to say about some topic in education. The beauty of an edcamp is that there are no planned sessions. Meaning there are no presenters there with a PowerPoint instructing you on how to use XYZ tool. Instead, an edcamp is discussion based. One of the main tenets of an edcamp is that the smartest person in the room is the room.
One of my favorite videos about what an edcamp is, can be found below.
OK so now that we have that out of the way. Let's talk about some benefits of attending an edcamp.
Learning - The learning at an edcamp is unbelievable. But, you have to own it. You can't just go into a session and not participate. It is your time to learn and grow, so do it! If you don't like a session, get up and go to another one.
Networking - Oh my gosh, guys, networking is huge at edcamps. This is where I go to reconnect with people who I have met online through my PLN. I love meeting new people and learning from them.
Free food - Food brings people together. There is something about donuts and a cup of coffee that can just help conversation flow. Also, if you are a college student attending an edcamp, is a meal (or 2) outside of the cafeteria!
Swag - That is right! As teachers sometimes we specialize in the freebies. Well, my friends, edcamp has the freebies. From stickers to pens to notebooks Edcamps have the swag!
Prize patrol - Prizes are awesome. Getting to choose your prizes is even more awesome! Edcamps usually have some great giveaways at the end of the day, but you have to be present to win! If you do win be sure to thank the sponsor of the Edcamp.
But in all seriousness, guys, Edcamps are amazing learning experiences for any teacher. Whether you are a preservice teacher or a veteran of 25 years there is always something new to learn at an Edcamp. In addition, you always have something to share at an Edcamp. Don't think because you are a preservice teacher that you don't have any pearls of wisdom or valuable ideas because you don't have experience - you do! You have so much to say and share! Go forth and share it! Oh did I mention, Edcamps are FREE! That is right you just have to get yourself there and enjoy a free day of PD customized just for you!
Want to find an Edcamp near you? Check out the Edcamp Foundation site here.