I went to my first edcamp yesterday, and I would recommend the experience to any educator. An edcamp is an “unconference,” a professional development meeting for educators where the participants themselves both deliver and attend sessions based on their own interests – or, in the case of yesterday’s Edcamp Vermont, their own passions.
I came home with some tangible stuff: a list of new digital tools to try out, good suggestions for a project I’ll be working on next year, contacts with people I would like to work with in the future. But what impressed me the most was the edcamp model itself, and how much enthusiasm it brought out in the participants (myself included).
As educators we talk a lot about how allowing students more self-determination in their learning is a great motivator, but in a busy school day that can be hard to put into practice. In my elementary library media program this year, it looks like students selecting books based on their own interests. Next year I’m hoping it will include independent research projects on topics they choose themselves. Yesterday was a reminder for me of what passion-driven learning feels like, and I want my students to feel the same way. What teacher wouldn’t?