Vote With Your Feet

Yesterday’s EdCamp “unconference” left me with a notebook full of ideas and a brain that needs to marinate awhile to determine which bits of info/tools will be a good match for my classes. In the meantime, let me share one of the coolest things about the day – the event’s structure.

There was no agenda, no guest speakers, and no workshop leaders. It was a completely teacher-driven event.

After a cup of coffee and a bit of small talk, teachers were invited to write topics they wanted to learn about and post them on the white board. Everyone then came to the board and put two checkmarks next to session ideas they found appealing.

The results were posted in a shared Google Doc. The offerings that made the cut:


Teachers attended whatever sessions they wanted. If you didn’t like the session you were in or it didn’t apply to your needs, you simply got up and went to a different workshop. No judgment. No problem. In fact, two elementary folks in my first session skedaddled right away when they realized everyone else at the table was going to talk secondary.

Now, imagine if district-mandated professional development was built with a choose-your-own-adventure model. Perhaps teachers would be more open to the information because they chose the session they wanted to attend. Too often, we’re forced to sit through hours-long Death by Powerpoint Speakers who talk at us instead of work with us to create the solutions we need. More blog posts will come in the next few weeks as I try and test ideas from yesterday. For now, though, I think I need to send this EdCamp model to my principal.

Teach on, everyone!


6 thoughts on “Vote With Your Feet

  1. This is an interesting concept. I have often wished that I could attend a workshop with a topic of my choice, but I wonder how this would work in my district. I ADORE my coworkers dearly, but I can foresee several side conversations and digressions. I bet a more relaxed, self-directed workshop of this ilk would be a great way to recharge and refresh. Thanks for sharing your endeavors. I am looking forward to reading about all of these new ideas.

  2. Yes, Michelle, there were definitely plusses and minuses. I liked my table groups, but it was a bit chaotic at times with multiple side conversations. Thankfully, there were a few us who helped keep the discussion focused, pulling the group back to the topic at hand when things took a left turn. Overall, I really liked the event, but that was primarily because it was filled with eager, innovative teachers, the ones willing to give up a Saturday for idea sharing. Our only compensation was a goldmine of ideas and information. Be sure to check out this latest post that shares one of those valuable nuggets:

  3. Tanya Sanchez says:

    I am attending my first Edcamp in Missouri this June 4th. I am excited for the breakout edu session and blogging. Thanks for all your inspiration, Ms. Randazzo.

  4. My pleasure, Tanya! Glad you’re about to join the fun. 🙂

  5. Love this. Who leads the sessions? Is it decided ahead of time which teachers will serve as experts for the particular sessions the rest of the teachers may vote on? Thanks!

  6. We all do, Janessa. Once the sessions are posted on the board, any teachers who want to learn about that topic or think they have useful information on that topic meet together in the same room and get to the business of helping each other. It’s very organic. Also, if a session isn’t meeting your needs, you’re welcome to get up and leave at any time to go find a different class that’ll be a better fit. So liberating and useful! 🙂

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