This past Saturday I attended Edcamp Boston, an "unconference" set in the wonderful Microsoft NERD center overlooking the Charles River in Cambridge. Edcamps take place all over the country and the model involves participants creating their own agenda across the day, with session leaders acting as facilitators rather than traditional "presenters." Another way to say this is that teachers themselves create their sessions based on what they want to learn for the day!
Several days prior, the organizers put up a brainstorming "wall" online for potential session topics. Upon arrival at Edcamp, these are organized into session spaces and times; I popped up a small session:
Then, you just GO. Edcamp embraces "the rule of two feet-" if a session is not working for you, or you wanted to check out 2 sessions in one slot, you can just move on. Since it's not a traditional "sage on the stage" model but rather a discussion-based one, this seems really natural. You can get a good sense of what Edcamp is about through this video:
Ed Camp from True Life Media on Vimeo.
I attended sessions on blogging (facilitated by none other than Richard Byrne, one of my faves), what's working/not working for iPad, a spirited interactive "Things That Suck" (and Rock-we got to express our feelings on topics such as grades, traditional school schedule, and seniority by moving to a corresponding side of the room) facilitated by Dan Callahan, Meg Wilson's great session on Mobile Learning, and a Web 2.0 "Smackdown" sharing session. I learned a lot from all the conversations and my brain stretched.
Other highlights of the day included meeting and getting to know Meg, a special education teacher whom I have admired from afar, and from here too, as well as Beth Lloyd, a fellow blogger OT who shares a mutual friend with me and is now apparently the #SLPeeps' resident Occupational Therapist (and has already been asked questions about sensory integration and bras). And it's always awesome to have time to converse with Super-Assistive-Technologist Karen Janowski, whom I am blessed to have in my district.
And by the way, the event was free.
A big thanks to the session organizers- check them out on Twitter:
Most of all it made me want to attend another Edcamp (click here to see where some are being planned) and other unconferences, and made me wonder... As much as I appreciate the ASHA conventions I have been to, and know that type of traditional PD and research-sharing is important for SLPs, I think this model could definitely have a place for us too. What would an unconference look like for SLPs: SLPcamp? Spuncon? Wouldn't it be great to spend a day meeting like this and sharing ideas, particularly evaluation and therapy ideas? How could we do that? Hmmmm....
Ideas? Let me know in the comments.