Professional Learning or continuing education is something expected for many professions. This includes the teaching profession in which we attend something call in-service or PD (professional development). Much of it seems to happen to us rather than with us leaving us very little room to take part in professional learning the actually improve our instructional practices. We don’t necessarily get the opportunity to shape the kind of learning we want and need. Instead it is given to us, and we sit-and-get the learning. Unfortunately, and more often than not, the learning doesn’t stick, and we quickly forget what we did on those 2-4 hours of PD. It ought not be this way, and thankfully it’s changing. In our fast moving knowledge economy, we can engage in our own on-demand learning using digital tools and resources to learn what we need to in order to be more effective educators. One such resource I’ve come to enjoy for PD is EdCamp.
At the end of this past school year I attended my first Edcamp in HEB ISD. How did I ever miss one of these before?! I could kick myself for not attending one sooner. But…I digress. Educator and Professional Development friends, if you’ve never attended and EdCamp, sign up and attend at least one. It is an amazing opportunity to learn, connect with other educators, and grow. Mostly it’s a wonderful way to create your own personal, point-of-need professional development. You know? The kind you’re not forced to attend because somebody else said so or because you’re desperate to clock learning hours. I mean, if that’s you, there’s no shame. The point is to take advantage of learning opportunities that spark your own personal growth and development and to continue to invest in your own instructional capacity. After all, you, my life-long learning friends, are responsible for your own learning. Invest in you!
Since I first began writing about my own learning journey, I realize I want to do that more because it helps me retain what I’ve learned. I don’t want to lose it, forget it, or not apply it. I’m a learner. I’d stay in school forever if it wasn’t costly, because I love learning. Like a sponge. But, I also know that you can only learn so much without applying before it begins to break down and become a distant memory. I have had the honor and privilege of learning for wonderful teacher, professors, administrators, and even not education leaders. I’ve decide I can learn from almost anyone. I try my best to find a way to make it applicable to my life whether personal or professional. So it is with Edcamps.
So maybe you’re asking what an Edcamp is? I know I did because I had no idea, no working frame of reference. Here’s a great resource on what it’s all about from the Edcamp page . It might help you know if it’s for you or not, and I’m hoping hard you’ll see how it IS for you and worth attending.
Rather than inundate you with all the details of what I learned at this camp and as a way for me to practice more straightforward writing, I’ll be sharing the top 3-5 things I learned that I think might be most helpful to you. Below is part one – the general stuff you can take away. I’ll be sharing another post on the specific things I learned at this camp.
- Show Up – even if you’re late show up. I couldn’t make it to the first half of my first Edcamp, but I didn’t let that stop me from going, though I seriously considered it. It was a good decision, and no one shamed me for being late. In fact, the HEB EdCamp leaders were welcoming and gracious. That is always a plus. #GetThereNow
- Participate – You may not think you will relate to what’s on the session boards, but go to something anyway. You can always learn if you choose too. It’s the same of the students sitting in our classrooms. When we’re open to learning, we might find the surprise of wonder like what we had when we were first beginning to learn. Let’s not lose that childlike curiosity. #StayCurious
- Share Expertise – Ask questions. Share your learning. Be a part of the conversation, and share your expertise. Whether you’ve taught one year or 20, you voice matters, and others may find something in your stories that will positively impact it.Since we’re all about our being the best educators we can be for our learners, it makes sense to share what you know and have learned. It just might help someone else build their teaching toolbox. #SharetheLearning
- Stay till the end – I mean really, you should because there just might be some really cool last minute giveaways. Now that may not always be the case, but hey! Stay anyway, and thank those who put on the camp. It’s another way to connect to other professionals that you might not have otherwise gotten to know. #ConnectionMatters
- Get outta your hula hoop – Attend sessions that will stretch you no matter how minuscule your interest. I once attended an EdCamp for early childhood educators, and let me tell you, it was inspiring, practical, and helpful. More on that later. We can change our mindset and grow. The challenge of learning something new might spark creative solutions for problems you’ve been seeking to address in our instructional/leadersip practices. It’s also a nonthreatening way to test interest in strategies, technologies, and best practices. #LearnandGrow
Have you attended an Edcamp or EdCamp Global? I’d love to hear your stories. Maybe I’ll see you around at a camp this coming school year. Till then … Learn on, friends. Learn on!
P.S. Update – I made my first infographic below using Canva, and it was not as hard as I thought it’d be. Try it educators. The possibilities are endless.