Sunday, April 13, 2014

#edcamp35: A Reflection

I was lucky enough to get to attend my first international - and I believe fourteenth overall - edcamp in Langley, BC yesterday. Guess what? That skimming effect that edcamp has - educators are choosing to give up their Saturday and set the course for their learning for a day so pretty much only incredible people show up - was true at edcamp35. Awesome, dedicated educators were the norm at edcamp35.

A few takeaways for me, in no particular order:

The variety of stakeholders at edcamp35 was truly spectacular. Sure, there were tons of teachers. But there were also many parents there. And students - great to have student voices at an edcamp! A big chunk of the University of British Columbia student teacher cohort came. School board members (they call them trustees in BC). A ton of administrators. Classroom aides. And district personnel: a superintendent, directors of curriculum, and other folks as well. Whatever the edcamp35 team did to get out all stakeholders was impressive!

edcamp35 tied my first SoCal edcamp (edcampLA in early 2013) as the edcamp that I got to meet so many of the folks I learn with on Twitter face to face. It's always a blast to connect a face and voice to the @ symbol I'm so used to seeing, and the sheer volume folks who I 'knew' from Twitter that I got to connect with in person was rad!
D'Alice, Christine, and I: love meeting folks face to face!
Thanks for the pic, Christine!

Conversation-based sessions were the norm. The organizing team did an awesome job setting up the spaces we were going to use before the event started: desks were in a circle in all classrooms when we arrived Saturday morning. Want to discourage presentations? De-front the room and make people talk to each other!

Enthusiasm was the rule of the day. Enough said.

Free lunch, from food trucks no less. What?!? An unexpected surprise!

And now as I fly home - and my flights today were gorgeous: the San Juan Islands, Puget Sound, Rainier, all the Oregon volcanoes, Crater Lake, Shasta - I'm left with the 'what next' questions.

How do we give educators more choice in their PD? How do we spread the edcamp #EduAwesome, the edcamp model, to folks who aren't attending edcamps?

As much as I don't really love the 1.0/2.0/3.0 discussions in education, it works for this question. What is edcamp 2.0? edcamp is awesome. I firmly believe that today, in 2014, edcamp is one of the best parts of education. But what is next for edcamp?

This is not to imply that edcamp NEEDS a 2.0. But so many great people are involved in edcamp you just know it's going to iterate. So what is edcamp 2.0? (Full disclosure: I - and a bunch of other volunteer edcamp organizers - sit on the edcamp Foundation's Partnership Program committee that helps new edcamp organizers sort through the hurdles of running their own edcamp. I don't come at edcamps bias free.)

So that's where I'm left with: how do we spread and evolve the edcamp model. Kudos to the edcamp35 organizing team: y'all put on a killer event with the broadest representation of stakeholders that I've seen at an edcamp.

Now I just need some more face to face time with all those awesome BC educators I got to meet for the first time yesterday...