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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Frustrations of Creating An Edcamp

brisbanetimes.com.au
     I debated waiting to see how the edcamp went and then creating a post that is a reflection/lessons learned style post.  However, I think it is more poignant to let my emotions be current as I discuss frustrations with my handling of this edcamp.

     As of today, Edcamp Manor is 20 days away.  I have nearly 30 people signed up.  I have a t-shirt company ready to do as many as 200 t-shirts.  I have several food vendors who are awaiting my numbers so that the food can be ordered.  I have notified over 100 teachers in our Think Forward Ning group.  I have tweeted to the 1500 or so on my twitter list.  I have put up notices on my Facebook page and on the Ecamp Manor Facebook page.

     Still, as I said in the first sentence of the last paragraph, I have less than 30 people signed up.  I have even enlisted our National Honor Society to help on the day of the edcamp as reception desk people, runners, and help desk people for each of the classrooms.  I have discussed having one room set up to webcast with a student running the set up.

     I have less than 30 people signed up so far.  The great people at Simple K12.com  have put together a how-to manual on doing an edcamp.  It came out this week.  I downloaded it and read through it.  I have done EVERYTHING that they suggest.  But, .....

     I have less than 30 people signed up.

     But everyone, EVERYONE, has told me it will be ok.  People will show up.  Because it's free people don't feel compelled to sign up early.  Because it's free people don't feel compelled to show up on the day, because - it's free.  My best teacher friend has been helping me and encouraging me.  Even she said, "it's on a Saturday.  You and I are the only Ed Geeks willing to give up a Saturday for an edcamp."

     The teachers in our school district aren't committing.  I have 1, one, teacher signed up to attend from my school.  And she might not be able to come but she wanted to sign up so I could have a good head count.  None of the other 200 or so teachers in our district have signed up.  Yet, I have teachers coming from North Texas, from South Texas, and from East Texas.  

     The only common thread here is me.  There is no planning committee to blame.  It's just me.  And that's part of the problem.  If I were a Principal I could make my teachers attend by coercion, if nothing else.  And that just makes me more upset.  Teachers shouldn't have to be coerced to attend a day of learning.   Teachers should take the day and embrace it.  Those who are really good at something, such as classroom management or technology, should be anxious to share their knowledge.  Those who want to improve their skills should be demanding topics to be discussed.

    I have done my part.  I will have a tweetup the night before with any and all of the people coming from out of town.  I will get together afterward with whomever wants to do that.  I will have fun and, though deeply embarrassed by the numbers, I will be a good host to my guests so that they have fun too.

    My final thought here is this:  "Thank you Steve Zipkes for being a major sponsor.  Without you I would have cancelled the edcamp due to a lack of interest from all teachers in the State of Texas."