Thanks for a Great Day

Thank you to everyone who helped make EdCamp Cleveland 2013 such a fantastic experience for everyone who attended.

PLEASE take a few minutes to COMPLETE THIS SURVEY. Let us know what worked for you, what needs improvement, and how we can make future events more useful for you.

CEU certificates will be emailed to all attendees within the next few days.

If you have photos, reflections, videos, or resources to share, please USE THE #EDCAMPCLE hash tag. That way, we’ll find it and be able to help collect it.

If you have notes or resources from the sessions you attended, UPDATE THE SCHEDULE with links to them. Anyone can edit the document, so just highlight the session title and make a link to your resources. Thanks for sharing.

Finally, LEAVE A COMMENT on this post and share your reflections (or links to them) from the closing session.

Thank you for making this such a wonderful experience.

One last thing: if you want to lead the charge for EdCamp Cleveland 2014, let me know. We need someone in that role for next year.

EdCamp is Here!

Welcome to EdCamp Cleveland 2013! I’d like to say we have a lot of fantastic, engaging professional development activities planned, but we don’t really have anything planned. You’re bringing the conference. You’re deciding the topics for today.

Here’s how it’ll work. Plan to arrive at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School around 8:00 AM. We’ll spend the first half hour enjoying some breakfast treats, meeting and greeting people, and (most importantly) setting the agenda for the day.

If you have a session that you would like to facilitate, go ahead and add it to the schedule. Or, if you’d prefer to go low-tech, fill out one of the sticky notes indicating what you’d like to learn and/or what you’d like to share. Our team of experts will take it from there. Overhead, you can watch the schedule being built in real time as sessions are added.

At 8:30, we’ll have a very brief introductory session. Then, we’ll head off to the first session at 9:00. Three sessions will take place before lunch, and two will follow lunch. At the end of the day, we’ll wrap everything up with a little reflection on the experience. I promised the custodians everyone would be out of the building by 4:00, so you’ll still have 4-5 hours to get out and enjoy the sunshine.

Throughout the day, you can share your experiences using the #edcampCLE hash tag. We’ll also have a live Twitter stream in the main lobby.

Giveaways? Did I mention the giveaways? Through the generous support of our sponsors, we have nearly $7,000 worth of stuff to give away. We’ll be doing that throughout the day. Some of you will walk away with software licenses, online service subscriptions, books, Browns tickets, and Chromebooks.

Enjoy the day. We’re glad you’re here.

25% More EdCamp, Same Great Price

We’ve listened to the feedback from EdCamp Cleveland 2012 and adjusted the schedule to include FIVE sessions instead of four. At the same time, we have also adjusted the length of each session from 50 minutes to 60.

To make this work, we’ve reduced the amount of down-time in the morning, shortened the opening and closing sessions, and shaved a few minutes off lunch. Here’s the new, improved schedule:

Schedule for the Day

8:00 – 8:30 Registration & Build the Schedule
8:30 – 8:50 Welcome Session
9:00 – 10:00 Session 1
10:10 – 11:10 Session 2
11:20 – 12:20 Session 3
12:20 – 1:00 Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 Session 4
2:10 – 3:10 Session 5
3:15 – 3:45 Closing Session & Giveaways

We’ll be sure to finish on time, because everyone has to be out of the building by 4:00. And, of course, EdCamp is still free. Please register online to let us know you’re coming, and we’ll see you June 14.


Fostering Conversations

EdCamp is about conversations. But most of the people attending EdCamp aren’t used to being in sessions where everyone is asked to contribute. As facilitators and participants, it’s helpful to have some models to help foster the conversations.

Fortunately for all of us, Stephanie Sandifer put together this awesome page for facilitators for the Educon conference. Just about everything in this post is shamelessly stolen from her.

So how do we get everyone out of “presentation” mode and into “conversation” mode? Here are a few tips:

  1. Rearrange the room. In all probability, the room you’ll be using is an English or Social Studies classroom. Most of them have traditional student desks. Move them around. Arrange the room however it best makes sense for the session. It’s summer — the teacher isn’t going to notice anyway.
  2. Forget the Powerpoint. Sure, there are projectors and Smart Boards in the classrooms. Feel free to use them. They’re great for introducing a topic or getting started in a conversation. But don’t present for more than five minutes, and don’t let someone else do a presentation either.
  3. Practice using probing questions. Encourage people to think more deeply about the topic being discussed. Don’t be afraid to challenge assumptions and motivations. “Why” can sometimes be the best question to ask.
  4. Include everyone. Who isn’t participating? Why? Be aware of body language, of the conversation that’s not being spoken. Take a look at these Considerations for Responsive Facilitation.
  5. Acknowledge and value everyone’s contribution. Try to make people feel that their contributions are necessary, valuable components of the session. Encourage them to speak up and share their perspectives.

It’s easy to say that these are all the responsibility of the presenter. But in an EdCamp, there is no presenter. This is a participant-driven conference, and everyone is responsible for leading the sessions. Sure, someone will get the ball rolling, but if everyone works hard to include all voices, we’ll have a much more successful event.

Plus, this gives us good practice for using these models with students.

Leading a Session

EdCamp is an interactive experience. The conference sessions are scheduled on the morning of the event, based on the interests of those attending. It won’t succeed unless many of the attendees lead sessions. These sessions might focus on:

  • A discussion of a current issue or trend in education.
  • Sharing a model lesson or unit you’ve had success with.
  • Exploring a new tool or resource and brainstorming applications.
  • Collaboratively seeking solutions to a common challenge.
  • Sharing activities you would like to improve.
  • Discussing something new you would like to learn more about.
  • Something else that you think people might be interested in working on.

David Wiley contends that sharing is a necessary component of education. The best teacher is the one who shares the most completely with the highest number of people. In that spirit, you are the expert at EdCamp. Expect to be involved in each session you attend.

The focus of an EdCamp is on conversations rather than presentations. You don’t have to spend hours putting together a polished presentation in order to lead a session. Just start with an idea or question or something to share, and take the session from there. Ask questions. Mediate discussions. Encourage participation. Suggest resources or strategies or solutions. Learn from one another.

Each room at EdCamp Cleveland will have wireless Internet access, a desktop computer, Smart Board, and data projector. Feel free to use any or all of this stuff — or not. Use the right resources for the idea you have in mind.

What kinds of sessions and topics would you like to see  at EdCamp Cleveland? Let us know in the comments.

Photo credit: Kevin Jarrett on Flickr.
Parts of this post were paraphrased from EdCamp Philly