What is an Edcamp?

The following article was contributed by Ryan Lombardozzi, NCEA Social Media Coordinator.

What is an EdCamp?

According to edutopia, Edcamps are:

  • Free to all participants
  • A free-flow of ideas and information about education, education technology and best practices for teachers
  • An unconference model of sessions throughout the day for spontaneous topics, chats and activities
  • The ability of being a presenter is at your discretion (and courage)
  • Reliant on the ‘law of feet’ which encourages participants to find a session that meets their needs

But how does an Edcamp work as a cohesive learning experience?

Attendees congregate to free tables (or chatrooms if a virtual Edcamp) and introduce themselves to one another and become comfortable with sharing ideas and exchanging information for potential topics and ideas for the day.

It’s a ‘blank canvas,’ so the attendees have free reign to shape how the professional development will proceed.  Following a set period of time – typically 25-40 minutes – to discuss areas of interest, the moderators gather a running list of the most popular topics from each of the groups to create an agenda of sessions.

There is no concrete form of gathering information from the attendees – this can be performed in a variety of manners such as having pre-approved topics with write-ins, chalk/whiteboards for voting, pinning topics, etc., an Edcamp is open to ALL ideas.

Tables (or chatrooms) are then specified for the most wanted topics, and from there it’s off to the races! Each round-table discussion can be as short as 30 minutes to as long as 90 minutes depending on the duration of the event.

The great thing about an EdCamp is that you are not confined to one topic! You are free to travel from table to table (or chatroom to chatroom) to listen or facilitate the discussion. It’s an open professional development opportunity that is shaped by attendee participation. But don’t worry about crickets in the room – teachers are all like-minded individuals with similar interests, questions and yearning of new techniques and strategies to implement in the classroom.

The conversations created from open discussions are meant to spark new conversations and build off one another. It’s one PD event comprised of many parts, and the parts don’t have to fit together to allow you to walk away learning something new. You walk away knowing that what you’ve learned has been used by fellow teachers and is actually working in the field – now it’s your turn to use others’ success in your own classroom!

Ready to get energized with new ideas and expand your professional learning networks? Join the National Catholic Educational Association in its first-ever NCEA Virtual Edcamp. This event is free and open to all. To join, please take this quick survey to inform us of your interest and what you would like to learn!

What: NCEA 2017 Virtual Edcamp
Who: Open to all teachers, specialists, administrators and special educators
When: Saturday, September 9, 2017 – 10 AM – 12:30 PM EDT
Where: Virtual – Platform: Voxer – Direct link will be provided at a later date
Why:          FREE opportunity for educators to collaborate on a free flow of ideas and information about education, education technology and best practices for teachers