When learning isn’t free

I’ve been having a great conversation with a friend of mine lately about edcamps.  I won’t name names because he is still in the classroom and our conversation might run counter to administrative thinking and land him in trouble.

Anyone who desires to have an edcamp is well advised to take a look at the official edcamp page https://www.edcamp.org/ and really think about what the model means.

It’s right there in your face:

  • participant driven
  • free to attend
  • experience, not experts
  • rule of two feet

So, when you’re looking at an upcoming “edcamp”, does it meet the criteria?

Some of the red flags that have hit our conversation include:

  • charging to attend
  • hiring a keynote speaker
  • posting the agenda in advance of the event with the topics and presenters already slotted into place
  • once the agenda is post in advance, requiring that those interested sign up for the sessions that you wish to attend
  • sessions guided and selected by a District’s stated focus for the year

Doesn’t that sounds like a PD Day?

The original intent of the edcamp was for free-range learning driven by the interests of those in attendance.  What’s being offered in some places does not honour the original intent of the edcamp model.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with a school District putting on a PD Day.  Indeed, it should be part of their on-going professional learning plan.  Similarly, there’s nothing wrong with putting on a special event on a Saturday to meet system goals and to be proud of educators giving their time for learning.  This is all great and should be encouraged.

But the edcamp is something different, something more special, and people really should be true to the original intent.

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One Reply to “When learning isn’t free”

  1. I love edcamps but I think there is still a need for the more structured conferences with curated sessions. Perhaps is is the OCD in me. Perhaps it is just a need to know what I am getting into when I spend the money to travel and stay some place not local.

    Like

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