In This Post:
- An overview of professional development designed to empower educators: EdCamps!
- The four major benefits of EdCamp professional development.
So much is changing in the way that we teach in our classrooms. Teachers are facilitators of learning rather than providing direct instruction all day, every day. Students are encouraged to follow their passions and learn other content and skills through their passions.
Why are educators not creating these impactful experiences peers and colleagues at our professional development events?
Actually, we are. It’s a worldwide movement you may have heard of called EdCamp.
EdCamps are a non-traditional way for educators to learn, collaborate, and network in a laid-back atmosphere. They empower educators through voice and choice.Student voice and choice is a popular movement in education, but at an EdCamp, educator choice is key. Click To Tweet
EdCamp Benefit #1: It’s Free!
One of the wonderful things about EdCamps is that they are completely free. That means free admission and participation for all educators. Along with free admission, many events offer free breakfast or lunch and numerous giveaways from sponsors.
EdCamp Benefit #2: Open to All
No matter your role in education, all are welcome. These events include paraprofessionals, teachers, administrators, and instructional coaches.
EdCamp is a place where educators of all levels and backgrounds come together to connect and collaborate.
EdCamp Benefit #3: A Participant-Driven Experience, not Experts
As a participant-driven event, all the sessions and topics come from those who are attending. Session topics are not decided on prior to the event. Instead, educators submit topic suggestions when they get there. It does not matter if someone is an expert on a topic, or if they just want to know more.
In the session rooms, there isn’t one person lecturing. Rather, participants facilitate the discussion and encourage everyone to share their experiences and knowledge about the topic. If no one is an expert, that’s okay! Individuals can use the time to research and share ideas.
According to the EdCamp Foundation website, those who attend an EdCamp are typically more satisfied, learn more, and feel encouraged. “Nearly 70% report learning at least four or more ideas to implement in their classrooms.”
The collaborative approach of this professional development model makes it “one of the most rewarding networking events for educators,” with nearly 97% of participants stating that they developed beneficial contacts at an EdCamp event.
EdCamp Benefit #4: Rule of Two Feet
Student voice and choice is a popular movement in education, but at an EdCamp, educator choice is key. EdCamps suggest educators find sessions that meet their needs to maximize learning.
If a participant is not getting what they need or want from a session, they can get up and leave to find another session. Educators can even start conversations in the hallways. Learning does not always have to take place in a classroom!
EdCamp Benefit #5: Potential Credit
Depending on your state and the specific event attended, a participant can attend and earn teacher training, professional development, or graduate credits. Many universities partner with local EdCamps to offer graduate credit. At the very least, you will be provided a certificate of completion for the event.[scroll down to keep reading]
In short, EdCamps are something every educator needs to experience at least once. With EdCamp events around the world, it should be easy to attend, but if there is not one in your area, you can create one!
To learn more about EdCamp and find an event near you, visit the EdCamp Foundation website.
ABOUT WHITNEY CHOATE
Whitney Choate is currently in her ninth year as a secondary special education teacher and is also an instructional technology specialist at Cape Central High School in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Learning and Behavioral Disorders and a Master’s degree in Autism. She has a passion for teaching and mentoring learners of all ages. Whitney is also the co-host of the Tough Talk with Teachers Podcast.