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10 Reasons Every Teacher Should Attend an Edcamp

10 Reasons Every Teacher Should Attend an Edcamp

By Suzanne Hart

“Edcamp strives to bring teachers together to talk about the things that matter most to them: their interests, passions, and questions. Teachers who attend Edcamp can choose to lead sessions on those things that matter, with an expectation that the people in the room will work together to build understanding by sharing their own knowledge and questions.” – Edcamp Foundation

As teachers, we beg, borrow, and steal to get what we need in our classrooms. Ok, I haven’t “stolen” anything other than great ideas from other teachers on Pinterest, but I try to get what I can for free!

So, when I first heard about Edcamps, the big neon lights that caught my attention were blinking “FREE, FREE, FREE” and to top it off, I saw that I’d get cool swag from companies—prizes such as gift cards and educational materials for the classroom. Best of all, I could be in the drawing for an iPad and a Chromebook as a first-time attendee.

The only “cost” is that it’s on a Saturday. As a teacher, I live for sleeping in on Saturdays and enjoying the day off after a busy week. Still, attendees from smaller districts will drive for hours to make it to the 8:00 a.m. check-in and breakfast.

“Attendees from smaller districts will drive for hours to make it to the 8:00 a.m. check-in and breakfast.”

The first Edcamp I attended, sometimes called an unconference, was hosted by local educational heroes in the Dallas area. It was a tremendous success for the sponsors, organizers and attendees. I even connected with a long lost friend who’s a principal in another district. We have managed to connect at every event since then!

You could call me an Edcamp Groupie now—I’ve attended all of the camps that are within 40 miles of my house, that work into my Saturday schedule. And, after attending, I can say with confidence that there are many benefits to going, outside of the swag and lack of entry fee. Here are the top 10 reasons to attend an Edcamp.

1. New Ideas

You will leave Edcamp with what feels like enough new ideas, apps and websites to last you a lifetime. You’ll learn how to integrate anything into your classroom, campus or district, such as blogging, Genius Hour, gamification, differentiated learning, flipped learning, blended learning, STEM, social media, Skyping in the classroom, and more. You also have an opportunity to share your expertise on these subjects. The focus of each Edcamp is different, so start by choosing the ones that appeal to you most.

More: Learn How to Host Mystery Skype in Your Classroom

2. Connections

You’ll make many professional connections with teachers, librarians, administrators and EdTech specialists.

3. Hashtags

You can follow the event’s hashtag for days leading up to your Edcamp. During the event, everyone is tweeting like crazy to share and learn from others. Be sure to check back afterward to catch all the great ideas that were passed around.

4. Free Food

You get to enjoy free breakfast, snacks, drinks and coffee.

5. Free Prizes

You won’t leave your Edcamp empty handed. Every event I’ve attended has had plenty of fun giveaways for items like, lanyards, pens, bags, T-shirts, and coffee mugs. Drawings are also held, where any number of items are raffled off. I’ve seen drawings for gift cards, free tech tool upgrades, signed books and headphones.

6. No Set Schedule

The schedule is made when attendees arrive and is based on what the collective group wants to learn. Anyone can facilitate and share their insights: “The smartest person in the room is THE ROOM.”

More: 10 Timeless Education Articles for 21st Century Teachers

7. Freedom to Explore

You can move in and out of sessions based on your needs—no hurt feelings if you leave a session and join another one. Everyone is encouraged to come and go. It’s referred to as “voting with your feet.”

8. You Can Learn With a Friend

Invite a friend to attend with you. This is a great way to get other teachers on board with tech integration and help them learn about what’s new in the education industry.

9. Collaboration

Sometimes a collaborative document is created so that attendees can add notes about the conversations that are happening in the sessions they’re attending. If you can’t make every session you want to, refer to the collaborating sheet to see what you missed.

10. Professional Rejuvenation

I always leave on a high from all the great ideas shared within such a smart and passionate group of educators. It’s electrifying to be with educators who love learning and are so enthusiastic about their craft. If your teaching flame is running low, use an Edcamp to reignite it.

Go Edcamp.wikispaces.com to get more information on how to find an Edcamp near you. Find a friend, sign up, and mark your calendar—I promise, you will not regret it!

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3 Comments

  1. Pingback: How to Expand Your Personal Learning Network with Social MediaLearn2Earn Blog

  2. Jenny

    May 18, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    Sounds fun! When is the next one?

  3. Pingback: 8 Warning Signs You’re an EdTech Newbie | Educational technology | Learn2Earn

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