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I've been an educator since 1995 where I've served as both a teacher and administrator. I believe that serving others is the key to success and make it my goal to be a servant leader for students, teachers, parents, and the community. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

EdCamp Leadership

Today, July 11, 2016, was EdCamp Leadership day.  Leadership EdCamps were held simultaneously around the country.  I was able to attend EdCampLeaderTX at Bellaire High School in Houston.  For those unfamiliar with EdCamps, they are educator driven professional development focused on meeting the specific needs of the attendees.  In fact, the agenda is not developed until participants arrive and provide suggestions for sessions based on their specific interests.  There are no speakers or vendors, although educational companies do support the events by providing door prizes.  Learning for the day is organic and conversations in each session are driven by the participants with the help of a facilitator.  Anyone can suggest ideas for sessions and anyone can facilitate a session.

Edcamps are, from my own experience, one of the most beneficial forms of professional development for three reasons.  First, only people who are truly interested in learning and growing take the time to attend.  Second, anyone can share in a session, providing multiple viewpoints and ideas.  Finally, you are not required to stay in a session if it doesn't meet your needs.  You are welcome to follow the "law of two feet" and move to another session.  Throughout the sessions, participants are constantly tweeting their learning.  If you are interested in viewing these, follow the hashtags #EdCampLdrTX and #EdCampLDR on Twitter.  You can also see session notes by visiting edcampleadershiptx.com. 

During today's EdCamp, I attended three sessions.  The first was on choice in teacher professional development. Principals and teachers discussed how to help educators take control of their own learning while still meeting district mandates.  The second was iPad apps for the classroom. In this session, we shared apps that had worked for us. One of the focuses of this session was how to use sites and apps that were not designed with education in mind to help meet the learning needs of students.  And, the last was on connecting classrooms globally which included some time sharing with an EdCamp group in another state.  

The final session of the camp was an App Smash where participants shared some of their learning and, of course, door prizes.  I actually won an Ipevo document camera.  But, more importantly, I left energized and ready to get to back to work helping teachers and students. 

In order to attend today's EdCamp, it took a six hour drive (roundtrip) including leaving the house before 5 am to beat Houston traffic.  Yet, the long drive was a trifle compared to the learning and connecting that occurred during the course of the day.  And, I wasn't even the person that came the farthest.  We had a person from Ohio take a day out of vacation to join us.  This says a lot for the power of EdCamps.  But, more specifically, it says a lot for the power of educators when they take control of their own learning and don't wait for others to initiate PD for them.

If you have never attended an EdCamp I highly recommend going to one.  It will change your perception of educator professional development.  Follow this link for a list of upcoming EdCamps. You can also visit the Edcamp Home page for more information.