It’s really just an illusion, right?
This “participant-driven EdCamp thing.” It doesn’t really work the way they say it does.
Take a look at Wikipedia, for example. They say it’s a community-driven site where anyone can add or modify anything. But try to change an article or add something that the Powers that Be don’t think is important. You’ll quickly see how welcoming they are to contributions from the so-called community.
EdCamp isn’t like that. The schedule is determined on the day of the event by the people who are there.
And who ends up doing the presentations? They’re people who show up with their PowerPoint slide decks from presentations they’ve done in other places. They add their names to the schedule and recycle their sessions from bigger conferences. The whole EdCamp thing is just like having leftovers from “real” conferences.
That’s not how it’s supposed to work. Sure, some people may have a few slides with them, but it shouldn’t be a presentation. There are no presentations. They’re just conversations. If you’re ten minutes into a session and nobody has talked besides the facilitator, you should walk out.
It’s not. There are hundreds of places where we can stand on soapboxes and preach about how schools should be. EdCamp isn’t one of them.
If you don’t let people do presentations, nobody is going to lead a session.
There aren’t any “leaders” of sessions. There are only facilitators.
Semantics. Potato. Potahto. Someone has to be in charge.
Someone has to get the conversation started and keep it moving, yes. But that someone does not have to be an expert on the subject. They just have to be willing to ask good questions and encourage people to participate.
If there aren’t any experts, isn’t everyone just stumbling around in the dark? How do the participants get anything out of the session, if everyone else is just as clueless as they are?
That’s the magic of EdCamp. We all bring our perspectives. We frame the questions in our own ways. We respond to one another and fill in little gaps of understanding. Together, we all develop a wider appreciation of the topic by conversing with one another. Our diversity and collaboration inform our professional growth.
Let me get this straight: there are no presentations. There’s no schedule for the day. There are no speakers. No one is in charge.
It’s just like when you go to a traditional conference. The best parts are the breaks between sessions. You talk to the people around you. You meet someone in the corridor. You make connections and start talking and learning from one another. EdCamps take those best parts and make them the whole conference.
And this is free?
Yep. All you need to do is sign up ahead of time so they know you’re coming.