According to the Edcamp Foundation website (edcamp.org), "edcamps are organic, participant-driven professional learning experiences for educators." It is my hope that our faculty meetings are not always mundane monthly meetings for routine announcements or required trainings, but that they actually have practical value for my teachers. While I do not have much experience with edcamps, I decided to launch an experiment for today's faculty meeting. I love the inherent relevance of the edcamp concept, and I am always looking for ways to foster collaboration among my awesome teachers.
Last Friday I asked teachers to email me topics that they would like to learn about. I gave them a few examples of topics and told them the only limitation was that it was related to their professional responsibilities.
Today I picked 5 of the topics and wrote them on 5 different sheets of "post-it" chart paper. I placed them around the room, each with a group of chairs arranged in a circle. After 5 minutes of announcements, I explained our edcamp to the teachers. I told them to pick a topic that they would like to learn about or one in which they could contribute some "expertise."
Today's topics, (based on the emails I received from teachers):
"Dealing with parents"
"Managing student cell phone use in the classroom"
"Incorporating writing in daily lessons"
The teachers had about 7 minutes to discuss their topic, and then I told them to rotate. They had the opportunity to discuss 3 of the 5 topics. (Our faculty meetings start about 3:20, and they are usually over by 4:00) The only feedback I have received so far has been positive. It was an experiment. We'll see what feedback I get tomorrow. I love this concept, though. You ought to try it.