So there’s a quiet revolution happening in professional development. Teachers across the country (and around the world) are turning professional development on its head and making it what they want. It’s a resistance. A resistance to the top-down, high stakes culture that reduces students to numbers. And if that weren’t bad enough, this culture attempts to essentially do the same thing to teachers by way of mandated, and often meaningless, professional development.*
I’ve said this before, but teaching is a creative endeavor. Not because our students are blank canvases or pieces of unshaped clay, but because we create experiences for our kids. The thing is, creative types like to hang out and learn from other creatives. But when does this happen? When do teachers get an opportunity to learn from other professionals outside their own school or district WITHOUT someone else dictating the topic and schedule?
That’s what EdCamps are all about. I’m not going to go into the history of EdCamps. You can get that from the EdCamp Foundation site. But take this example from EdCampOCLA last year:
An attendee, we’ll call her Em, wanted to learn about Edmodo. She had heard about it before and heard that teachers were using it in their classrooms to provide students with a private online space to interact, submit assignments, and collaborate. So Em took a notecard, wrote “I want to learn more about Edmodo” on it and put it on the session board. Later at the session, Em got a demonstration and a rich and relaxed discussion from fellow teachers who were using Edmodo. Em left with something she could use in her class the next week.
Now multiply that by the thousands of passionate educators attending EdCamps around the world. Awesome, no?
And don’t think that EdCamps are only about technology. I’ve spoken to some friends who are really excited about sharing what they are doing in their classrooms, would like some guidance on lesson planning, or are just looking forward to meeting other educators.
So if you’re anywhere near Los Angeles, or feel like taking a trip, we’d love to have you at EdCampLA on January 12th. It’s free and I guarantee you’ll have a rich experience. Register at www.edcampla.org. If not, find an EdCamp in your area or start one yourself!
*Of course there are exceptions. Many schools are actively resisting sucking the creativity out of teaching and reducing students to test scores.