Tuesday, May 13, 2014

EdCamp - PD By Teachers, For Teachers

I've been looking forward to sharing this "tried it" for Tried it Tuesday with Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper for a long time!

Maybe you've heard of EdCamps and maybe you haven't yet.  One thing is for sure, EdCamps are an up and coming professional development experience for educators that are sweeping the world.

This past Saturday, I had the lucky opportunity to attend EdCamp Milwaukee (EdCampMKE) and my experience was unforgettable.
I think I first found out about EdCamps from Krissy Venosdale @Venspired from this blog post.  If you want to know more about them, I seriously suggest you take a few minutes to visit her site. She is amazing!

So what is an EdCamp?

  • EdCamps are usually held on Saturdays during the school year. During the summer, it's all over the place.
  • They are FREE!  (But they usually limit the number of participants so be sure to get a ticket.)
  • EdCamps are considered an "unconference" because you don't know the schedule of "classes" until that morning.
  • To set the "class" schedule, EdCamp organizers call on participants to offer to "host" a session on a topic of their interest.  There are no "sages on the stage" or lecturing allowed.  It is truly collaborative.
  • Session topics can seriously be about anything educational.  On Saturday, there were sessions that ranged from standards based grading to instituting a 1:1 program to how to organize your classroom for optimal learning.  To see our schedule topics click here.  There is surely something for everyone!
  • When the session begins, anyone interested in that topic meets in the designated room and conversations begin.  One person may serve as leader, but usually it's just everyone contributing ideas and insights.
  • If you don't like the topic or it's no longer meeting your needs, you can just leave the session and find a different one.  No one is offended or hurt.

Here are some of my pictures from my day at EdCamp:
Here I am with my friend Heather, who I brought along for the day.
Technology is everywhere!  
Getting ready to fill the board with sessions.
When someone wants to offer a session, the write it on a post-it, briefly share their idea with the crowd, then it gets put up on this grid. 
 (Thankfully, someone was sitting right there to put this all into an online document so we could read it.)
Here's Heather pitching our session on Teacherpreneurs.  It was a hit!! About 25 people attended.
We took a break to go outside at lunch.  It was a beautiful day.

Interested in attending an EdCamp?  You can check out this wiki to see when there is one near you.

If you'd like to see the Twitter feed from the day, you can check out #EdCampMKE.

Even though I gave up a Saturday to sit inside for EdCamp, I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I met so many wonderful educators, learned so much, and grew as a teacher in ways I had not expected!

What about you?  Have you tried out an EdCamp yet?  If not, don't wait!  Find one near you today.


  1. Oh man...this looks fun! There is one only two hours from me, but I will be gone to California during that time. :( I will have to check back again and see if they have something at a later time. Thanks for sharing! xo
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  2. Hi Jennifer,

    I just signed up for EdCamp Oshkosh! Are you going? Some of the other Wisconsin bloggers (I think including Mrs. Bentin?) are going.

    Thanks for sharing more info on this! Our school district tried to do one last June but it didn't seem to go as smoothly as this.

    Learning in the Little Apple

  3. Hi Jennifer,

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I am a first year teacher and although I have heard of the work, "EdCamp", I had no idea what it entailed. I am excited to try and sign up after reading your post.


  4. I just recently attended my first EdCamp this past weekend in Chicago and fell in love with it! What an amazing way to meet such fantastic people with wonderful ideas to be shared! There is another EdCamp coming up on May 31st in Rockford, IL (http://edcamp.wikispaces.com/edcamp+Rockford). Hopefully, that's close enough for you and you'll be able to attend.


  5. This sounds so fun and interesting! There isn't one close to me, but I will keep checking throughout the year!
    A Tall Drink of Water

  6. This sounds amazing!!! Hopefully I can tag along with you guys next time!!!! Thanks for sharing!
    Mrs. Bentin's Blackboard

  7. You amaze me with your great ideas! I'd never heard of this, but there are a couple of PA ones so I'll be taking a closer look. Thanks for the tip!

  8. I have never heard of this, Jennifer! This looks my kind of "conference" and so meaningful for teachers. I'll have to check out if there is one in my area this summer! Thanks! :)
    Fourth Grade Flipper


Thank you for taking the time for stopping by! I would love it if you would leave me a comment to let me know that you were here. (Please make sure that you are not a "No Reply Blogger" so that I can email you back.)