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Volume 28, Number 5
September/October 2012

Tired of PD? Try an Edcamp


Teachers design their own conference sessions at Edcamp Keene (N.H.).

Point of ViewTeachers have long since tired of the traditionally ineffective professional development models that have been forced upon them. For most teachers, professional development looks something like this: teachers show up in the morning, are told exactly what they’re going to learn that day (whether it’s relevant to their practice or not), and then sit and listen to an administrator or high-priced consultant from far away tell them all about how they need to change their teaching. These presentations are usually one-off events, without continuity across the semesters and years. All too often they have no impact on teacher practice.

Now imagine the very opposite: the teacher-led “unconference”—designed by teachers, with teachers, and for teachers. Social networking tools are, in fact, enabling classroom educators to create an entirely new template for professional learning to directly address their needs and interests. These unconferences have many names: TeachMeet started in the United Kingdom, EduCamp has been very popular in New Zealand, and EduBloggerCon (now called SocialEdCon) has been a popular kickoff to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference since 2007. The most popular and fastest-growing of these unconference formats is the Edcamp.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


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