My First Edcamp!
On April 29 I attended my first Edcamp, EdcampYYC. Firstly, I would like to thank the organizers of the event, Matt Armstrong (@Armstrong YYC) and Paul Genge (@paulgenge) and the host Elboya School. Secondly, it was great. It was a day of learning with my peers and colleagues (seven people from Holy Spirit Catholic Schools attended) and many strangers.
The day started out with an early drive to Calgary. It is always enjoyable to spend some time with peers in a relaxing atmosphere (although I was no help in the morning crossword). We must have been eager beavers as we arrived a whole hour early and got the best parking spot. After connecting with some more peers we finally got to start the Edcamp. The format was a little different as the topics and some speakers had been decided earlier. I was impressed by the number of edcampers (if that is what we are called), I estimate there was 250-300 people packed into a small gym. We started with a presentation from Dr. Ron Glasberg. He gave a great analogy of the Wizard of Oz characters and the needed 4C characteristics for teaching innocence: compassion, courage, creativity, and consciousness of conscious.
Next we were off to our individual sessions. My first session was facilitated by Joe Bower. He argues that grades have a very negative impact on learning, and therefore he eliminated grading from his classroom. I encourage you to read his blogs about the topic. My second session was led by LeAnne Ireland and the topic was Aboriginal Youth. She presented a lot of rich data on the supports, and lack of supports, for First Nations graduates and drop outs. She also led a healthy discussion on what schools could do to help. My last session was on creative timetabling. For this one, there was no leader. We were just a small group of educators having a conversation about timetabling ideas. I truly enjoyed all of my sessions, but the best was the third session. Not because of the topic, but because of the format of the session. The first two sessions had great presentations, but the third had no presentation. It was terrific to have an educational discussion with strangers. One individual was at a school of 500 that had very little structure to it. No formal homerooms, their structure fostered student autonomy.
My first Edcamp was a success and I will definitely try it again. In fact, we will be holding a mini Edcamp at our school during our next PD Day. Maybe my next big Edcamp will be here in Lethbridge, EdcampYQL.