In my school district this year, we’ve been talking a lot about next generation learning. We’re seeing a need for an increased focus on collaboration, communication, problem solving, and creativity. In our PLCs, we’re working collaboratively with our colleagues to improve our professional practices and make school relevant for our students. Students and staff alike are building personal learning networks, and the idea of an education centered around knowledge transfer from a single content expert to a group of learners is starting to seem quaint.
When it comes to professional development, though, we frequently revert to the old paradigm of one expert lecturing to a room full of passive listeners. If participatory learning is a good model for our students, doesn’t it also make sense that we should be doing professional development that way?
Here’s an opportunity to do just that. Over the last few years, a number of cities have hosted EdCamps. These are FREE one-day conferences with the agendas entirely driven by the participants. When people arrive, they indicate the types of sessions that they would be interested in facilitating and attending, and the schedule for the day is built on the spot. Instead of listening to boring presentations in hour-long breakout sessions, attendees actively engage in collaborative sessions around a common topic.
Think of it this way: when you go to a professional conference, frequently the best part is the space between the scheduled sessions. That’s the time when you meet new people, exchange ideas, and apply the topics and themes of the day to your own situation. EdCamps take those best parts and make them the whole conference. You can get a better feel for how this works from this video, produced by True Life Media for EdCamp Philly last year:
I’m excited to announce that the first EdCamp Cleveland will take place at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School on Friday, June 15, 2012. Anyone with an interest in education is invited to spend the day with us, make connections with other educators, and engage in a participant-driven professional development experience. This opportunity is not limited to BBH staff — we already have commitments from teachers in several other communities throughout Ohio and beyond for this event.
You can find more information, along with the registration link, on the web site at http://www.edcampCLE.org. You can also follow @edcampCLE on Twitter for updates. There is no cost to attend this event.
I’m looking forward to seeing many of you on June 15.