Reading through each of the EdCampOmaha posts and thinking about my own, I felt like my contribution would simply be another summary of the day or a rant about its amazingness and my frustration with the fact that more people don’t come/don’t know about it. So I have avoided this post for five days now. Thankfully Karl Lindgren-Streicher, a fellow Edcamp Foundation Partner Program Committee member and EdcampSFBay organizer, posted a friend’s Action Research survey all about Edcamps. As a recent graduate of a program that required an Action Research Project, I was inclined to help this person out by taking the survey. Little did I know that it would also make me finally reflect on my recent Edcamp experiences, both as an attendee and a co-organizer.
Overall, Edcamps support my role as an educator by allowing me to be selfish in my own learning. I can select sessions that interest me or have conversations about something in which I know nothing, but have always been curious. I am not required to be there or told what to learn. It is my choice. As an educator, this is liberating because the overwhelming majority of PD is determined by others.
With every Edcamp that I attend, I take away something new. Conversations can lead me to look at challenges with new perspective, app smackdowns can provide a wealth of new apps to try and apply, idea generation can lead to new solutions, and networking can connect me with other passionate educators from nearby states. Just this past weekend at EdCampOmaha, I was able to connect with educators from my own state (Nebraska), Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Colorado and gain some support, ideas, and even evidence of things to take back to the Nebraska Department of Education as we move forward with our social media policy and guidelines. Working for a government agency can be even more limiting than a school district, which is why this policy to become present on social media is so important.
Edcamps are my happy place where I can dream big, learn from others, have deep conversations with passionate educators, be challenged to make a change, and simply feel empowered to DO something.
Now my challenge to you: find the nearest Edcamp…and GO!