Thursday, 10 January 2013

How Edcamps Are Like Flash Mobs


(flickr: artberri)


(Written by Diane Roberts, @robertsdrb.  This article is also posted on my blog: DiMentions)

I am currently working on planning Red Deer's first edcamp, dubbed REdcamp13 (pretty cool play on words thanks to @EbertsR and since I love flash mobs, I was struck by the similarities.  I have to admit that I have never been to an edcamp but am so impressed with #edcamp talk on Twitter that I was inspired to help bring one to my city.   Here, in my humble opinion, is how edcamp is like a flash mob.  Feel free to agree or disagree, particularly if you have edcamp experience!  :)
How Edcamp is like a Flash Mob:
1.  Flashmobs, like edcamps start with one or two people, moving to a beat, dancing to what appears to be their own drummer…at first.  The moves soon catch on and others are joining in the fun.  Edcamp, a relatively new concept in professional development for educators where the participants guide the learning, is gaining momentum.  My REdcamp13 colleagues and I know that the edcamp idea is little known or understood around these parts but we intend to shake it, boogie, learn some new moves and have fun in hopes that it will catch on with our fellow Albertans (Saskatchewanites? British Columbians?) who dare to come to our first edcamp in May, 2013.
2.  Flashmobs, like edcamps start with a little preparation by a core group of interested individuals who have a desire to share their passion (a song, a dance, a happy feeling) with the world and then amazing, spontaneous things happen.  One of the original flashmobs in a train station in Belgium which was choreographed to the Sound of Music’s Do-Re-Mi held only two practice sessions before taking it live.  The result was inspiring.  Edcamp Philly started very small, as described by Kristen Swanson HERE and the concept has spread all over North America and even Europe.
3.  Flashmobs, like edcamps, are done because people WANT to.  They are not driven by money or celebrity.  People do flash mobs, like Mila Kunis’ character says in the film Friends with Benefits, because it’s fun!  Educators do edcamps because…well, maybe those who have attended edcamps in the past can comment on why they attend edcamps??  I’m sure fun has something to do with it but I’m guessing the deep learning and meaningful conversations that encourage professional growth also are driving factors.
In Drive, Daniel Pink writes about the importance of autonomy as a factor in what motivates people.  He says that people want autonomy over task, time, team and technique.  Edcamps provide learners with plenty of autonomy over what you learn, when you learn it, with whom you are learning and how you are learning.  If this is something that also motivates you, perhaps you should attend REdcamp13 in Red Deer, Alberta on May 11, 2013.   We would LOVE to have you!  And who knows, maybe we’ll break into a flashmob at lunchtime!  ;)
(couldn't resist adding in just one more flash mob - Bazinga!)