Monday, 22 April 2013

Unconference recon at #edcampyyc...

@joe_bower, @EbertsR and I attended edcampyyc in Calgary on April 19. I went because I am very much in favor of the edcamp unconference concept, but also as part of a reconnaissance mission to find out what makes an edcamp tick. Turns out what makes an edcamp tick is the people who attend.

Edcamp Calgary was my first edcamp experience. I've done my homework regarding the philosophy and format of edcamps, but didn't really know firsthand what it would feel like to participate in one. Participants represented a diverse range of experience with unconferences, and there were many 'tire kickers,' if you will wandering the halls and attending the sessions... it was cool to observe people being vulnerable with their learning; becoming participatory receivers.

I witnessed teachers and others who are significantly invested in education immersing themselves in the collaborative mixing bowl to share thoughts and ideas with each other... because they could. All were there voluntarily to become part of the solution (or many solutions). The conversations were varied and complex, and all designed to create climates of improvement in teaching and learning. It seemed to me that people were there to share what they knew or thought, but also to explore what they didn't know or perhaps wanted to think differently about.

Some appeared more cautious than others, and some spoke less than others, but all were present and contributing to conversations surrounding the imperative to optimize teaching and learning environments. Thanks to organizers @paulgenge and @Armstrongyyc, I think #edcampyyg turned out exactly as it was supposed to. It turned out to be a gathering of engaged and passionate teachers and supporters of education who simply wanted to talk about their craft in a non-threatening and productive environment.

This is also what we intend #redcamp13 to be for the engaged and passionate folks who will be joining us on May 11 at Glendale Sciences and Technology School in Red Deer. We are excited to emulate the vibe we experienced in Calgary, and we're thrilled to become part of the growing edcamp culture in Alberta.

Hope to see you on May 11!