money

Money for Something: Edcamps receive first round of Mini-Grants to offset event costs

Creative Commons License photo credit: Tracy O

Exciting news! We are thrilled to begin providing edcampers with mini-grants using funds from our first corporate sponsor, Evernote.

So far, Edcamp Boston, Edcamp Philly, Edcamp Omaha, Edcamp St. Louis, Edcamp Ohio, Edcamp Detroit, Edcamp IS, and Edcamp Vermont have received our support. They will also be sharing Evernote Swag at their events!

We are currently partnering with 12 active edcamps. These partnerships provide much more than cash – they include personal assistance from an experienced edcamp board member to help ensure a successful event.

For more information about our mini-grant program, or to apply, click here.

We want to help you! Please submit a mini-grant application!

Free Advertising for Edcamps on Educationismylife.com

Getting the word out about your Edcamp is essential to its success. So, how about some FREE ADVERTISING?

AJ Juliani, who runs the new site Education is My Life, contacted the Edcamp Foundation recently with this incredible offer:

A group of educators and myself started a blog, “Education Is My Life“, and it has since taken off in ways we didn’t necessarily imagine. We are going to start advertising on our site with one 125×125 ad on each page. We are starting with 10 ads that will rotate with each impression. From the start of this process we’ve agreed to promote great educational opportunities in any way we can. We’d like to offer free advertising on our site to EdCamps to promote this awesome idea.

EdCamps (and the EdCamp foundation) can send us their logo, a brief description (and location), and link to their website. We’ll run the ad on our site for a month leading up to the specific EdCamp. All we would like in return is for an edcamper at that specific location to send us a blog post recapping the event once it is over.

Let me know if you need any more information!

Thanks,

AJ Juliani
Colllabo I The Q&A for Educators

To take advantage of this opportunity, contact AJ via this form or send email to AJJuliani@gmail.com!

Occupy Professional Development: Take Control of Your Professional Learning with the Edcamp Format

This post also appears on the Education is My Life blog.

We’ve all been there: A mind-numbing, passive, professional development session that aims to “fill up” your mind with knowledge and expertise. Quite often, these types of experiences leave you drowsy and uninspired.

Well, there’s a new form of professional development sweeping the nation that aims to change all that. Edcamps are unconferences for educators where learners share their experiences and their professional expertise in a collaborative, interactive learning environment. Edcamps are based on Open Space Technology (OST) which states that “whoever comes are the right people and whatever happens are the only things that could have” (Boule, 2011).

An authentic Edcamp has the following features:

  • free: Edcamps should be free to all attendees. This helps ensure that all different types of teachers and educational stakeholders can attend.
  • non-commercial and with a vendor free presence: Edcamps should be about learning, not selling. Educators should feel free to express their ideas without being swayed or influenced by sales pitches for educational books or technology.
  • hosted by any organization or anyone: Anyone can host an Edcamp. School districts, educational stakeholders, and teams of teachers have hosted Edcamps. YOU could be the next Edcamp organizer!
  • made up of sessions that are determined on the day of the event: Edcamps do not have scheduled presentations. During the morning of the event, the schedule is created in conjunction with everyone there. I know it sounds crazy, but it works! Sessions end up being spontaneous, interactive, and responsive to participants’ needs.
  • events where anyone who attends can be a presenter: Anyone who attends an Edcamp is able to be a presenter. All teachers and educational stakeholders are viewed as professionals worthy of sharing their expertise in a collaborative setting.
  • reliant on the law of two feet that encourages participants to find a session that meets their needs: As anyone can host a session, it is critical that participants can actively self-select the best content and sessions. Edcampers are encouraged to leave sessions that do not meet their needs. This provides a uniquely effective way of “weeding out” sessions that are not based on appropriate research or not delivered in an engaging format.

Edcamps were founded when a group of teachers, including me, were inspired by a local Barcamp unconference on computer programming. Since the first Edcamp was held in Philadelphia in May 2010, over 50 Edcamps have been held by teachers in the United States, Chile, and Sweeden. (Interested in holding your own Edcamp? Visit the Edcamp wiki at http://edcamp.wikispaces.com)

Teachers and educational stakeholders are using this format to start meaningful conversations about their work. Social media, including blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, have served to continue the conversation in online spaces as well. Professional reflection, application, and evaluation abound.

Lately, Edcamps have received some criticism due to the interactive, unpredictable format. How can you guarantee that every Edcamp session is based on the latest research? Quite simply, you can’t. Edcamps should be used as one meaningful item on the professional development menu. There will always be a place for traditional professional development to ensure that faculties are using the latest research and effectively employing the most fundamental strategies purported by the educational organization. However, using the Edcamp format to honor teachers’ expertise and provide interactive learning opportunities is a worthy process.

Edcamps strive to provide space for teachers to learn from each other. They give everyone a voice and a forum to explore new ideas and strategies.

To learn more about the Edcamp movement and upcoming Edcamps, visit the Edcamp Wiki at http://edcamp.wikispaces.com

Sources Cited
Boule, M. (2011). Mob rule learning. Medford, NJ: First
Printing.

Photo Credits (used with permission)
www.edcampfoundation.org

edcamp map

Welcome, 2012: Year of the Edcamp?

As Dan Callahan recently pointed out on Twitter, 2012 is starting with a bang –  SIX edcamps are coming this month (source: edcamp wiki), including the first-ever two-day Edcamp, and our first in Latin America:

January 13-14, 2012 edcamp San Diego
January 14, 2012 edcamp 43 (Coquitlam)
January 14, 2012 edcamp Delta
January 14, 2012 edcamp Santiago, Chile
January 21, 2012 edcamp DC
January 28, 2012 edcamp OCLA

And as if that wasn’t enough, there are SEVEN EIGHT (!) scheduled for March 2012:

March 2, 2012 edcamp Phoenix
March 3, 2012 edcamp Columbus
March 3, 2012 edcamp IS (Independent Schools)
March 3, 2012 edcamp Vancouver Island
March 24, 2012 edcamp Social Studies Philadelphia, PA
March 24, 2012 edcamp Omaha Omaha, NE
March 31, 2012 edcamp Maine
March 31, 2012 edcamp Waterloo Region, ON

For the full schedule of upcoming edcamps, visit the wiki above, or, click here.

Go, #edcamp!

evernote logo

Thank you, Evernote – the Edcamp Foundation’s first official sponsor!

It is with great pleasure that we announce The Edcamp Foundation’s first official sponsor: Evernote Corporation! Their generous donation of $2,400 will be used exclusively to support Edcamps via our Mini-Grant Program, in which Edcamp organizers can apply to receive personalized planning assistance from a Foundation Board Member and  up to $300 (US) to help offset the costs of running  their event. These sponsorships are intended to help educators everywhere embrace the Edcamp model in their schools and communities. Are you planning an Edcamp, or thinking about it? Click on the “Let us help you” link above to apply for a Mini-Grant. Once again, thank you, Evernote, for your support!