Announcing Edcamp USDOED 2015!

The second annual Edcamp United States Department of Education will be on May 29, 2015. The Edcamp Foundation is delighted to be partnering with the DOED again this year in Washington. We hope that this year’s event will build on the conversations and ideas that were started last year, especially the ones about teacher empowerment and teacher voice.

As space is limited, we’ll be running a lottery again this year. The lottery is free and anyone is eligible to enter. You can learn more about that at the event’s website here.

Please note: the lottery is now closed.

So What Do I Have to Do to Get my Edcamp-in-a-Box?

It is an easy process to become part of this fabulous program! The Foundation’s goal is to support Edcamp organizers as much as possible.

For new Edcamp organizers, the first step is to get connected with a member of the Foundation Partnership Program.  You do that here. After talking with the Foundation Partner, you will need to work with your team of organizers to identify a location and date for your Edcamp.

The available items for the box are:

  •      Gift cards for breakfast – coffee, bagels, etc.
  •      Poster paper for signs
  •      Flashdrive with logos, posters, rules
  •      Nametags
  •      Markers
  •      Post-Its for the session board
  •      Edcamp stickers
  •      Copy of The Edcamp Model
  •      Photos of other Edcamps

Your team will then discuss what supplies you would like from the Foundation and will fill out the form.

If this is not the first year for the Edcamp, the organizers will fill out this form, providing information about their last event and requesting support for this year’s.

There will be four times a year when applications may be submitted to the Foundation:  March 1-15, June 1-15, September 1-15 and December 1-15. The Edcamp-in-a-Box will then be sent at the end of each quarter. The Executive Director is responsible for making the decision about who will receive a Box, after evaluating the Edcamps with the greatest need and the resources that are available at the Foundation.

How do we pay for this great program? Great question!

In response to requests from many of our faithful EdTech companies, the Foundation has created a single channel for them to give to Edcamps across the country. Instead of responding, as many of them do, to dozens of requests for cash and swag, they can make a donation of $250.00/Box to the Edcamp Foundation. They can then send us their products, gift cards, etc., and we will add that to the Boxes as they sent out to Edcamps across the country.

Edcamp Essentials at your Door – Edcamp in a Box is born!

edcamp-in-a-boxImagine hosting an Edcamp without any of the hassle of finding sponsors to help pay for coffee in the morning and Post-It notes for the Session Board. What if all of that simply appeared! Imagine that the Edcamp Foundation effectively provides the basics of what you need, making hosting an Edcamp that much easier for the volunteers who organize each and every Edcamp.

Many organizers have told us that the hardest part about hosting an Edcamp is raising the necessary funds to pay for the necessary incidentals: breakfast, coffee, supplies. For some well-established Edcamps, this isn’t an issue. They have sponsors who willingly step forward year after year, but for many others, this is the most exhausting and draining part of the work. So the Foundation decided to take this burden away! The Foundation believes firmly that Edcamp organizers are awesome and deserve all the support and help that we can give them!

So Edcamp-in-a-Box was born!

Edcamp-in-a-Box will provide the essentials for hosting an Edcamp painlessly. Organizers will identify what they need and then apply to receive a Box. This list includes:

  • Gift cards for breakfast – coffee, bagels, etc.
  • Poster paper for signs
  • Flash drive with logos, posters, rules
  • Nametags
  • Markers
  • Post-Its for the session board
  • Edcamp stickers
  • Copy of The Edcamp Model
  • Photos of other Edcamps

More about how to become part of the awesome program in the next blog post, tomorrow!

It All Started with a Tweet

Edcamp Philly Meetup at Educon 2010

Image credit: Rob Rowe

I was an early adopter of Twitter as a means of connecting with other educators, thanks in large part to Will Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. Little did I know how much it would change my life! I loved the energy and collaboration that was happening there, as educators around the world found each other and built a network. Back in 2009, there were relatively few of us making these connections, and friendships quickly developed. For the most part, I had no idea where people lived; I just knew that they were all passionate about the work that they were doing for kids. The conversations and sharing was addictive!

One night, while I was following my Twitter feed, I saw that a number of people that I knew of Twitter were actually together at a coffeehouse in downtown Philadelphia. They had all just been to BarCamp, an unconference for computer programmers and were thinking about creating one for educators. Thanks to the Twitter world, I jumped right in and have never looked back. One moment, following Twitter changed my life!

Edcamp Philly Wraps Up

Image credit: A kind Edcamp Philly attendee using Kevin Jarrett’s camera

We held the first Edcamp in Philadelphia in May, 2010. We used social media to send out the word. Then, as is still true, Twitter fueled the start of and growth of this movement. People signed up and even more amazingly, people came from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, fascinated by the idea of free professional development that is driven by the teachers who show up. The educators who had connected through social media now had a chance to meet face-to-face and enhance the relationships that they had already started.

Image credit: Kevin Jarrett

Image credit: Kevin Jarrett

That first morning, we set up the empty session board and wondered what would happen. Would people really come? It was a beautiful May morning. Staying home and enjoying the sunshine rather than making the trip into the city seemed like a real possibility. The questions kept flying between us as we set up the Sign-In table and wrote with chalk on the sidewalk to direct people to the entrance. Who would come? Would anyone want to hold a discussion or pose a question for consideration? What if nothing happened?

Kim Sivick & Haldey Ferguson

Image credit: Kevin Jarrett

And what happened was magic! Educators are truly amazing people, people who care so much and work so hard for the students that they teach. They came and began the conversations, sharing with strangers their ideas and their questions. The session board filled up, and the collaboration began. People tweeted about it and around the country and the world, people began to follow #edcamp! The energy in that place gave birth to a movement that has grown in under five years from a single, initial Edcamp to over 600 events around the world.

Edcamps became so powerful because they recognize and honor the expertise of teachers. Each Edcamp is organized by educators, for educators. They aren’t professional development based on what someone else says that you need to learn or know and are truly participant-driven. The sessions continue to be developed on the day of the event, based on the interests and questions of the people who give up their time to learn from and with other educators. There are no Outside Experts; the teachers who show up, working together, are the experts.

The passion of the teachers who come is electric and empowering for all who are there. They are people who believe in doing whatever it takes to make their work in the classroom the best that it can be, bringing the best to their students. They want to grow and believe that they can, that the system and the challenges that they face are not bigger than the power of committed educators working together. While sometimes the conversation is about edtech and new tools that support student learning, in the end it is really about the students. Edcamp educators just care about the kids who show up in their classrooms every day. Taking a Saturday to learn and share is just a piece of what they give every day to make their practice the best that it can be.

The Edcamp Foundation was formed to support and enhance the work of the organizers and participants of the Edcamp movement. In October, 2014, NewSchools Seed Fund gave the Foundation a grant so that we could hire an Executive Director. The Foundation Board asked me to take on the challenge. After decades in the classroom, I decided to go for it. It was an amazing opportunity to support something that I believed in passionately.

It was also slightly terrifying! It meant leaving a job that I understood to take on a whole new identity. While there are many skills that were transferrable, many have been brand new to me. Truly, being an Edcamp person saved me. The fact that I am part of a movement that so passionately believes in learning and change means that I approach each day with the mindset, straight from Carol Dweck, that believes in growth. I will slowly master all of the skills that I need. Until then, people have been amazingly generous with their time and expertise, helping me master what I need to know.

My days vary wildly, to an almost amusing degree. Because it is just me, building this Foundation and its programs from the ground up, I go from times of writing a Strategic Plan and Employee Handbook to answering tweets and explaining what Edcamp is to people who have never heard of it, from giving interviews and talking to major funders to designing a business card and reading blogs on nonprofits. Each day is a new challenge, as I make decisions about what needs to be done and then figure out how to do it.

Hadley Fergsuson, Executive Director, The Edcamp Foundation

Hadley Fergsuson, Executive Director, The Edcamp Foundation

There is never a moment, however, when I am not acutely aware that none of this would be possible without all of the dedication and hard work of every single one of the organizers and participants of each Edcamp around the world. I am simply lucky enough to now be the face of their hard work. I truly stand on their shoulders! Without their volunteer work, hours and hours of time, there would be no Edcamp movement. They are making it possible for me to talk to major funders about giving support to enhance this form of professional development. I am incredibly humbled each day by what they have made possible, and I am committed each day to give my very best to this Foundation and the people that it represents.

Hadley

The 12 Days of Edcamp!

present-150291_640Give the gift of Edcamp using the #edcampgift hashtag over the next 10 days!

This December, get in the giving spirit with Edcamp. The Edcamp Foundation knows that each and every Edcamper is generous with their leading, learning, and sharing. So, have some fun this holiday season giving to other Edcampers around the globe! Whatever you celebrate, please join in the fun! It’s as simple as Tweeting, Instagraming, or Facebooking with the #edcampgift hashtag! Each day, we’ll be choosing one tweet. That tweeter will get to give a 100 dollar donation from Remind to the Edcamp event of their choice!

For more information, visit: https://www.smore.com/tkgnp

Welcome to Veteran Educator Hadley Ferguson, New Executive Director of The Edcamp Foundation!

Today we are pleased to announce that Edcamp Founding Board Member Hadley Ferguson has been named Executive Director. The current Board – Kevin Jarrett, Kristen Swanson, and Mary Beth Hertz – have charged Hadley with overseeing many new initiatives that will enhance the growth of the Edcamp movement. Hadley expects to be focusing on support for Edcamps nationally, fundraising, and collecting data on the impact of the movement.

Hadley Fergsuson, Executive Director, The Edcamp Foundation

Hadley Ferguson, Executive Director, The Edcamp Foundation

Hadley is leaving her position at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she has taught Middle School history since the fall of 2001. In 2011, the Library of Congress announced that Hadley had been selected as a member of the Teaching with Primary Sources Mentor Advisory Group, serving with 19 other master educators to assist the Library in supporting teachers in their use of digitized primary sources through a Teachers Network. In 2013, the National Association of Independent Schools named her a “Teacher of the Future.” An accomplished writer, she has published articles for the International Society for Technology in Education’s Leading and Learning and co-authored a book with me, Unleashing Student Superpowers: Practical Teaching Strategies for 21st Century Students.

Hadley was instrumental during the founding of the Edcamp Foundation, an IRS 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to supporting and nurturing the growth of participant-directed professional development for K-12 educators nationwide. The Foundation was created in response to the demand that followed the original Edcamp Philly, an event made possible by Hadley and ten other visionary Philadelphia area educators who came together to provide teachers with a more informal and organic means of improving their professional practice. Rather than following the model of traditional professional development featuring lecture-based instruction, Edcamp Philly offered a schedule of sessions – discussions, not presentations – suggested and led by the participants at the event. Inspired by Open Space Technology and the principles of connected & participatory professional learning, including user-driven events that preceded it like EduConEduBloggerCon, Barcamp, and even TeachMeet, Edcamp Philly brought educators together to talk about student learning, classroom pedagogy, curricula, innovative educational technologies, and more.

Since that first event in Philadelphia, there have been hundreds of Edcamps worldwide organized by passionate educators who believe in the movement. More recently, growth in Edcamps internationally has been dramatically accelerated by generous support from members of the Foundation Partnership Program, who have answered hundreds of questions from educators around the world from people committed to bringing an Edcamp to their area. It has been an incredible five years! We want to take this opportunity to thank the worldwide Edcamp community for helping to empower teachers as they take ownership of their professional learning. We look forward to this exciting new chapter with Hadley on board as Executive Director!

Kristen Swanson

The Wait is Almost Over!

1269850054The wait is almost over! You may have heard we had some BIG NEWS … well, it is about to be revealed!

Our announcement will happen tomorrow, Saturday November 22nd, towards the end of the fabulous Saturday morning Twitter conversation on #satchat , 7:30 – 8:30am EDT, LIVE from Edcamp New Jesey. Tune in for the whole hour for a great conversation about the power and impact of Edcamps. Share your experiences about how Edcamps changed what happens in your classroom. Then get a glimpse into our exciting future! The Foundation is working on new ways to support Edcamp organizers and the learning of the participants. We are very excited about what is in store for all of us!

Edcamps Take Stockholm by Storm

edcamp stockholm

Per introduces the Edcamp model to principals in Stockholm. Photo credit Helene Derkert.

In 2012, Sweden became one of the first countries beyond the United States to incorporate the Edcamp model into their professional development. Since then, the country has hosted dozens of Edcamp events for teachers and leaders.

As Swedish educators, including the visionary Per Falk, have been so supportive of Edcamps, the Edcamp Foundation is delighted to announce a formal partnership with the Department of Education at Stockholms stad.

This partnership will allow both groups to work together to empower educators. This collaboration will happen through conversations between organizers, resource sharing, and general goodwill. This year, Edcamp events will happen all over Stockholm under Per’s guidance.

Here’s to continuing the conversation!

Twitter: @perfal
Email: per.falk at stockholm.se

Why. We. Edcamp!

Edcamp Philly 2014

We Edcamp because…
-we are learners first, teachers second.
-we care about kids.
-we embrace a growth mindset, and we want to model this for our students.
-we know adults need social learning.
-we believe educators are the best change agents for schools.
-we are empowered.

We Edcamp because we are learners first, teachers second.
Remember the first time you saw a child “get it?” That “a-ha” moment is a prized possession for every teacher. You know, that moment when a student finds his/her passion, hooks on to an enlightening idea, or engages in a topic with such astute critical thinking that he/she becomes an expert.

For Edcamp organizers, this is the same way we feel when we meet teachers excited by an Edcamp for the first time. In 2010, the “a-ha” moment arrived when educators realized that, much like students, we can take ownership of our own professional learning. The Edcamp “a-ha” has been repeated over 550 times in dozens of countries.

We Edcamp because we care about kids.
The world is changing. Fast. Learning used to be isolated and linear. Today, however, modern technology has fashioned a learning environment with boundless access to information and people. In short, learning has become connected. The ways that we were taught (way back when) won’t cut it for our kids.

We care about kids and know learning has to change for them. Edcamps help us to discuss the shifts that are needed, experiment alongside other practitioners, and share stories of best practice.

We Edcamp because we embrace a growth mindset.
Learning is never finished. Edcamps allow us to find other like-minded educators to build lifelong learning communities. Edcamp helps educators feel that they are not alone in the journey of teaching. Through edcamps, we find educators igniting their passion, finding enlightening ideas, and engaging in topics as the experts they are. There’s always more to learn and more to improve.

We Edcamp because we know adults need social learning.
We learn better together. The strong bonds that form at an Edcamp continue through many different venues, both face-to-face and online. Twitter chats and blog posts all document the “long tail” learning sparked by Edcamp events. Often, Edcamp events are the beginning of both the friendship and the conversation. We consider our fellow Edcampers our friends.

We Edcamp because we believe educators are the best change agents for schools.
The growth of edcamp has been, in our opinions, astounding! But the expanding numbers aren’t necessarily something to cheer about. While it is amazing to see a network of educators interested in taking charge of their personal learning, the growth is also indicative of the need to “disrupt” the current system of professional development. Open registration for all provides for partnerships and collaboration that would not exist in singular district or school-based professional development. The blank schedule board allows for relevant topics and ideas to surface for the day’s conversation. The law of two feet gives educators the power to determine what meets their learning needs for the day. The current system of professional development still applaudes “sitting and getting.” Sitting and getting information and credits, all of which are determined by the standards of someone else. Teachers are clearly hungry for more, and as a result we should use edcamps as a vehicle for more. Educators must be change agents. Edcamps are a vehicle for that change. It’s intrinsic.

We Edcamp because we are empowered.
Edcamps empower educators to be both learners and experts. They encourage them to take control of their situation and improve their practice. They put kids and teachers first, not sponsors or credits or any other extrinsic reward.

Edcamps are about learning for learning’s sake. That’s the magic. Edcamp empowers.