One of the hallmarks of an EdCamp is the ability to choose your own adventure. The model allows everyone to participate and have a voice. Nothing is mandated. And, No one is tweeting that they are ‘giddy’ about seeing “Insert so called Twitter Celebrity”. There are no over-priced keynote speakers and you’re not getting hounded by vendors. Instead, everyone is giddy (I promise, last time) to learn, to share, and to listen.
And, before I go further, I understand that the critic would argue that there is no research to prove an EdCamp as an effective model of professional development. However, leave it alone. Participants leave an EdCamp feeling good, refreshed, and eager to get back to work on Monday. That is all the data you need.
One of the misnomers with an EdCamp is that it is a tech conference, or rather, that it is driven by sessions geared toward education technology. This is false. While an EdCamp incorporates a fair amount of technology for promoting and sharing, the sessions really don’t require any technology. If you took a moment to observe the surroundings at EdCamp Boston on Saturday, you would have noticed lots of conversations. Sure, there were some people looking at a screen, but more often than not that screen time was for notes or to share.
In fact, the best technology integration at an EdCamp is a the ability to share and to listen. In short, a conversation. This is why the EdCamp model thrives and continues to grow globally. Not because everyone is on Twitter or understands how to use an iPad, rather that everyone is excited to listen, process, and share. This is why EdCamps matter. This is why the EdCamp model works and will sustain for many years to come. This is why participants leave excited to get to work on Monday after giving up a gorgeous, Spring Saturday in Boston to learn inside. And this is why more schools should be thinking about going one-to-many with conversations before considering any piece of hardware. It’s the best technology integration you could give your students and teachers.
Thank you to the EdCamp Boston organizers for hosting another engaging event on Saturday and thank you to anyone who has taken on the role of an EdCamp organizer. Your efforts are appreciated by many.