Last year, I attended my first EdCamp in Hamilton. My goal in attending was simple: be a passive observer. I was content to soak in the atmosphere. I didn't want to create big waves or get in the way. I still do not think this approach is necessarily bad. My big goal in PD is always to listen to others. I wanted to take time to reflect on what I experience. Being an observer and listening is an amazing approach to learning. I will admit, however, I was also being shy and found myself in a new situation.
As soon as I entered Ancaster Senior Public School, my feelings changed. I was greeted by friends who also committed themselves to new learning on a Saturday. I felt so welcome as Aviva Dunsiger was assigned to the greeting table. I asked how EdCamp works. Aviva responded that "It works the way you want it to." She explained that there are no keynote speakers, there is no agenda and that you choose the direction you want to pursue.
Sue Dunlop was sitting by a computer working on a schedule for the day that attendees posted. As I looked at the schedule, I wanted to attend a session on blogging but did not see one. Sue told me "If you want to discuss blogging, write it on a card and post it on the wall!" I wanted to explain my approach as "the passive observer," but that feeling melted away.
There were sessions where other educators asked for my input. I did attend another session on student learning where I was content to listen to the viewpoints of others. Aviva was right. EdCamp is like a "choose your own adventure story." At the same time, you can even choose your own approach and change it as the day goes on. When PD is done right, I feel motivated and excited to try something new. The best part of EdCamp is meeting other dedicated teachers. Please join us on April 16th so that our learning can grow!