Edchat on Edcamps
Posted on May 31, 2013
Posted on May 31, 2013
This past Tuesday, practitioners gathered in Twitter’s #edchat to discuss edcamps, of which I, and I imagine many others, have never heard. The vast majority of the people involved in the discussion, though, seemed familiar with edcamps, and several had either attended or organized an edcamp.
The first thing that was immediately apparent was that most edcamp attendees come away impressed and pleased. As Tom Whitford put it, “EdCamps have been some of the best learning experiences I have enjoyed since coming into the Ed Field.” The key points made by many participants were that edcamps are flexible and follow an “unconference” model and the focus is on encouraging educators to share their strategies and skills in a series of participant-led sessions.
— Tom Whitford (@twhitford) May 28, 2013
Participants largely seemed to enjoy edcamps because of the relaxed nature of the camps and how the camps emphasized involvement and learning over procedure. Since edcamps are participant-driven and do not tend to run according to a pre-established schedule, participants are able to drift around and visit the sessions they feel will be most beneficial for them. If an attendee visits a session that they do not feel is right for them, they are able to, and even encouraged to, leave and visit another session, all due to the fact that edcamp attendees are more interested in sharing ideas and developing skills than anything else.
What I love is the “let you feet do the talking” mentality. If you find a session isn’t 4 you, walk out – no hard feelings EVER! #edchat
— Julie Shy (@shyj) May 28, 2013
Unfortunately, it seems to be the case that many adminstrators do not accept the edcamp model for professional development or faculty training because, according to Tom Whitby, “it lacks control and leaves too much for the participants to decide.” Julie Shy chimed in to comment that “Admins want answers. That isn’t edcamp. We discuss and discover together to come up with solutions.” The question, then, is whether or not organic programs like edcamps make for better educators than other more structured programs. Tuesday’s #edchat participants certainly seem to think so.
Josh Luthi is a computer science student at the University of Kansas and has a penchant for politics.