Teach.com

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Am I Really Going To Do An Edcamp Again?

I'm thinking about doing the whole edcamp thing again.  There, I said it.  After my last foray into running an Edcamp (Edcamp Manor) two years ago, I vowed I'd just attend them and never try putting one on again.

I wrote about creating the edcamp in an early blog post. Then, I wrote about my frustrations with how awful it went here. So, after re-reading those posts now, I really am amazed that I can say that I'm thinking about doing it again.

Maybe it was attending Edcamp Waller.  Maybe it was having to miss Edcamp San Antonio and Edcamp Dallas.  Maybe it's looking forward to Edcamp Austin (next week).  All I know is there are about 20 educators who attended most (if not all) of these edcamps and these folks really represent the best educators here in the United States. OK, so that's a bold statement. But I happen to know, or have talked with, some really awesome educators over the last 5 years. And these Texas edu-pros are the real deal.

So, if I ran another edcamp what would it look like?  First, it would be PBL themed. I would want presenters to lead discussions on all phases of a PBL unit.  There would be cool ways to do an entry event. There would be teachers who have connected with their community to create opportunities for authentic learning. There would be teachers who have found creative ways to use technology for scaffolding. And there would be students actually presenting their projects.

But will a themed edcamp still be an edcamp?  Here's what they say in the wiki page and at the Edcamp.org webpage about that. "Educational technology is a common topic area for edcamps, as are pedagogy, practical examples in instructional use of modern tools, and solving the problems technology can introduce in the classroom environment." And, "Anyone who attends an Edcamp is able to be a presenter. All teachers and educational stakeholders are viewed as professionals worthy of sharing their expertise in a collaborative setting."

So, as long as I allow attendees to be presenters and as long as they are including technology or pedagogy (or both), then it can be an edcamp!  I can do it! And...I can do it.  This time there will be some differences though.

I'll get my district experts involved early in the planning.  I'll hit my twitter experts and pbl network early to encourage people to come to it. And I'll ask them to bring ideas and/or presentations. Most importantly, I'll ask students to come and be a part of the process. 

The students coming is the part that worries me when it comes to being faithful to the edcamp process. Session sign up should be first come, first served to really meet the mark. Then again, if the edcamp sessions were set up like that, I could have student sessions going all day that would be open to anyone who wants to come and watch.

There are a lot of details to work out but my goal is to complete the planning by the time the school year ends and to have the edcamp during the fall of 2014.  Have a date in mind? Leave it in the comments. Remember we have to work around the University of Texas football schedule. 

This is exciting and scary.  That's what I like about it. Care to help a guy out? Let me know - I'll put you to work.