Edtech Camp: The Unconference

I was first introduced to Edtech Camp through a student in one of my classes a year ago.  She was one of those rare students whose enthusiasm bubbled forth without any effort.  I had assigned the students to start a blog and use it to examine each of the standards for school administrators in New Hampshire.  Many of the students were reluctant to “bare their souls” in such a forum and it took much coaching, listening and encouraging to get them going.  But Jennifer was so excited!  She had learned how to blog in another course, but hadn’t started her own.  She was a regular on Twitter, Facebook, and all that Google has to offer and had built up an incredible professional network.  We all knew that she will would far.  One day she came to class and told us about an Edtech Boot Camp she attended that Saturday.  It sounded pretty intense, exciting,  and somewhat insane (in a good sort of way).

This past spring I attended my first Edtech Camp in Cambridge along with 200 other educational enthusiasts.  It was a great day.  I met some new people who were so excited to share what they are doing.  I ran into an old “student” of mine who is now a principal.  We had lunch together and enjoyed catching up.

Edtech Camps are built from the bottom up.  There is no planning agenda, just a blank matrix on a large wall and once the go-ahead is given, anyone can sign up for a time to meet with others who want to talk about a topic.  There are no “real” presentations, as everyone in the room has the ability to speak, add their own”take” on things.    Most of the workshops were related technology, but others were discussions on education today, how to motivate students, how to get students to “own” their learning.  Teachers working in K-16 classrooms attended.

It’s free!  You get coffee and a bit of continental breakfast and lunch.  You are encouraged to do your own thing.  If you want to skip a session and just talk with someone you’ve met, do it.  If you don’t like the session you chose, just walk out.  No egos allowed…we are here to learn what WE want to learn, not what someone else wants us to learn.  It was an exciting and thrilling day.

This summer the Burlington Public Schools, Burlington, MA are sponsoring a series of Edtech camps, Tuesdays 9:00 – 1:00.  You need to register (so they’ll have enough food and space)…try it out.  It’s free and it’s what many teachers have been looking for.  It that doesn’t work for you there are a bunch of other Edtech camps all summer and into the fall.  Go to http://edcampboston.ticketleap.com or Google #edcampbos for more information.

Oh, and for a great blog to follow check out Jennifer Scheffer’s blog.  Hope to see you in July Jennifer…

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