Edcamps are a unique PD experience because there are no invited experts, the agenda is blank, there are no specific themes, and the day relies on participants themselves for content. The vast majority of people attending EdCampMY7Oaks have never attended an EdCamp before.
Here is a Q&A to help you better understand how they work. Over the next few weeks we’ll send out a couple more e-mails to help you get ready so you can make the most of the experience.
Q: What’s the conference about?
A: We don’t know yet. Edcamp isn’t your traditional conference. In fact, there’s really nothing traditional about it at all. Our sessions for the day are not published, or even known, ahead of time. The day is 100% driven by you, the attendees. That is where the session (conversation) ideas come from. What we DO know is that you have the opportunity to get what you need, help others meet their needs, and make some great contacts in the process.
Q: How is the agenda set?
A: Participants make invitations along these lines:
- Would someone teach me about…
- I’d like to teach others about…
- I’d like to have a conversation with others about…
- Let’s get together and…
Plus, we can tweak where and when sessions take place so chances are you will get to attend everything you want to attend.
Q: I am a (something other than a classroom teacher). Will there be anything for me?
A: Every participant is encouraged to make invitations – if you work in a specialty area, or have a unique job role, make an invitation about it. There will be something for you because you will make something for you. Remember, you aren’t signing up to present, or teach something, or give a lecture – you are making invitations to talk about, have a dialogue, share ideas. We are all experts and we all have something to learn from each other.
Q: What resources are available if I want to present something?
A: There will be a projector in each room for anyone to use if needed to show supplemental material. Don’t expect full blown presentations with slides, handouts, and the like. It’s not that kind of conference, but if you have them, you’re welcome to bring them. The idea is for sessions to be conversational and participatory rather than sit-and-get.
Q: There’s something I want to know but I don’t want to lead a session. What should I do?
A: Just because you added the session/topic to the session board doesn’t mean you have to be the only voice during that entire time slot. In fact, we don’t want you to be. Sessions are meant to be learning conversation around the topic. Just facilitate and give focus; let everyone in on the conversation.
Q: What if I start in one session and after a few minutes discover it’s not for me?
A: Vote with your feet. If you’re not getting out of it what you need, go to another session; if you’re facilitating a session and someone leaves, don’t be offended. That’s OK to do during an Edcamp! We want you to get the most out of your day of learning. It’s your day. If you need to, go revisit the session chart and head somewhere else
Q: We’re really into our conversation but the session ended. Now what?
A: You’ll likely see conversations continuing during lunch and throughout the day. Some may carry over into other sessions, some folks may skip a session to head to the commons area to continue a conversation. Again, while informal and non-traditional, it’s all acceptable.
Q: What should I bring to EdCamp?
Here are some things you might want to bring with you:
- A laptop, tablet, smart phone, or other preferred device. We encourage you to email, tweet, blog, collaborate on GoogleDocs, etc. during a session.
- Charger for your device – we have lots of places to plug in but maybe not your particular cable
- An open mind
- Your passion for education and desire to make it better for kids.
- A plan for sharing what you learned. We must take these new ideas, information, and conversations back to those that weren’t at Edcamp.