My Experience at Edcamp
I was so excited to finally attend an Edcamp. I’d heard so many friends saying how resourceful and stimulating these were. My biggest surprise was to find out that there was no agenda! That’s right, it wasn’t necessary for me to register to any workshops for the day. What session or workshop would I attend? What would I be doing all day? I had no idea, I mean not YET!
The Edcamp movement started in Philadelphia in 2010. Nowadays, Edcamps are held worldwide. They are built around ad hoc community participation. Sessions are not planned until the day of the event, when participants can volunteer to facilitate a discussion or a workshop on a topic of their choice. This type of event is now growing in popularity in Quebec. In fact, the Commission scolaire des Découvreurs hosted their 4th annual Edcamp on May 20th. Edcamps are non-profit, therefore registration fees are generally low. To give you an idea, the day cost $11 per participant, including snacks and lunch.
Edcamps operate without keynote speakers or vendor booths and encourage participants to find or lead a conversation that meets their needs and interests. What is amazing is to see and feel this eagerness for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is a dynamic day filled with discussions, demos and interactions from participants who are the main actors of the event.
As the participants were arriving, we were thinking about what we would like our day to be like. On a screen, we could see the empty schedule where participants could propose a themed discussion or workshop. And then, magically, workshops began to appear as participants volunteered their ideas.
The sessions included conversations around teaching methods, evaluation, how to use technology in the classroom and sharing digital projects or inspiring activities. Many sessions had a technology focus, however the focus was not only on integrating technology in the classroom.
It is suggested that you bring a laptop or iPad to an Edcamp, as many presentations will be interactive and there is usually a backchannel conversation (or social media conversation) going on. Through this link, you can follow the Edcamp Quebec Twitter. It is also a great way to be in two places at once when you want to attend two different sessions at the same time!
Overall, I would say I was thrilled by my experience at Edcamp and will definitely stay posted to try to catch another one soon! I hope to see you at the next event!
Intensive ESL teacher at CS de la Capitale