Explore the Edcamp & Unconference model for transforming professional development on your campus. Learn best practices for designing and facilitating a successful one-day-long "unconference" consisting of professional learning led by teachers for teachers on the topics that teachers want and need to learn at that moment.

What are Edcamps & Unconferences

A FREE form of organic, participant-driven professional development experience created by educators, for educators. All topics and discussions are generated collaboratively on the day of the event by all of the learners in attendance. Edcamps emphasize internal motivation, choice, and interactivity. Based on the tenets of OpenSpace Technology, Edcamps are derived from the belief that a group of people, given a purpose and freedom, have the ability to self-organize, self-govern, and produce restuls. Conversations, not presentations, dominate the learning at Edcamp. Every participant has an equal voice and personal experience is honored. (Source: The Edcamp Model)

What makes them different?

Edcamps are:
  • free
  • noncommercial and with a vendor-free presence
  • hosted by an organization or any one person
  • composed of session that are determined on the day of the event
  • events where anyone who attends can be a presenter
  • reliant on the law of two feet that encourages participants to find a session that meets their needs

Examples: Edcamp Houston, EdubloggerCon, ParentCamp

Why Edcamp and Unconference?

Why Edcamp? -- http://www.edutopia.org/blog/why-edcamp-kristen-swanson
Unconference: Revolutionary Professional Development - http://plpnetwork.com/2011/03/07/unconference-revolutionary-professional-learning/

Variations of Unconferences

1. Full-day Regional
A full-day true Edcamp event where everyone and anyone is invited to attend and participate. An example of this is Edcamp Houston which is open to any and all educators from within and around the Houston area (and beyond -- we do get attendees from North Texas and from across Louisiana). Follows the Edcamp model with fidelity and is usually listed on the official Edcamp wiki.

2. Full district-wide
Very similar to a regional Edcamp event, but generally limited to attendees from one district. Follows the Edcamp model with fidelity and may be listed on the official Edcamp wiki.

3. Full-day school wide
Similar to the full-day district-wide Edcamp, but limited to one campus or maybe a feeder pattern of one campus. Follows the Edcamp model and may be listed on the official Edcamp wiki.

4. Half-day, one-day school wide
Limited to one campus. Follows the OpenSpace Technology organization of an Edcamp, but limited in number of sessions (due to time). Best alternative if time is limited and there are no available full-day inservice days that can be set aside for a full Edcamp-style event.

5. Half-day throughout the year school wide (PLP time)
Similar to one-time half-day event described above, but offered more than once during the year. Limited to one campus. May include or be associated with a tool for documenting self-directed professional learning to be included in end-of-year teacher evaluations. Chavez High School in Houston ISD used this model from 2002-2004, but referred to it as PLP (Personal Learning Plan) Time. School was on a modified block schedule that allowed for 2 hours of PD every Friday while students were released early. Teachers were allowed a couple of hours every other Friday to pursue their own learning interests as long as those interests were in alignment with school SIP goals and the teacher's content area. Teachers could self-organize into groups based on interest or learning topics (similar to Edcmap model of proposing own topics and self-selecting which sessions to attend), or engage in independent study. Learning was documented on PLP forms.

6. Within PLCs
Limited to content-area or grade level teams (or Professional Learning Communities). When and where varies depending on school structure and daily schedules. Basically this variation just allows Teams/PLCs to choose specified meetings where instead of a planned meeting focused on normal Team/PLC issues, the team members are allowed time to self-select and self-organize a topic to learn more about within that meeting time slot.

How to Plan & Implement an Edcamp or Unconference

An Edcamp Organizer Checklist (one example) - https://docs.google.com/document/d/1F4nEotV_Gab-QFIJk_EJSeUOeKTVVV598_jeAhanDjg/edit
Another Edcamp Organizer Checklist (example) - http://coachinandout.blogspot.com/2012/01/countdown-to-edcamp.html
Planning an Edcamp - The Big Stuff - http://www.edutopia.org/blog/starting-your-own-edcamp-mary-beth-hertz
Planning an Edcamp - The Small Stuff - http://www.edutopia.org/blog/planning-an-edcamp-details-mary-beth-hertz
Edcamp Guide to Organizing (designed for designing full-day regional Edcamps, but schools and districts will find some of the advice very useful) - https://edcamp.wikispaces.com/A+Guide+to+Organizing

Links to Additional Resources

The Edcamp Model (Book)

Edcamp Wiki - http://edcamp.wikispaces.com
Edcamp Foundation - http://www.edcamp.org
Edcamp Houston wiki (for examples of resources provided to attendees and how we build our session board -- everything is openly licensed so feel free to copy and use whatever you find on our wiki) - http://edcamphouston.wikispaces.com/
Edcamp Houston Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/EdcampHouston
Edcamp Guide to Organizing (designed for designing full-day regional Edcamps, but schools and districts will find some of the advice very useful) - https://edcamp.wikispaces.com/A+Guide+to+Organizing

ParentCamp: An unconference for parents and educators - http://www.parentcamp.org/
A Guide to Hosting Your Own ParentCamp - http://www.edutopia.org/blog/hosting-your-own-parentcamp-joe-mazza

Edcamp Whitepaper (.pdf) - http://edcamp.org/2012/07/edcamp-a-qualitative-exploration-whitepaper/
OpenSpace Technology Protocol (.pdf) - http://www.nsrfharmony.org/system/files/protocols/ost_logistics.pdf

How Edcamps Break the Rules of Professional Development - https://www.edsurge.com/n/2013-09-25-breaking-the-rules-of-professional-development
Why Edcamp? Because. That's Why. - http://venspired.com/why-edcamp-because-thats-why/
Edcamps: Remixing Professional Development - http://www.edutopia.org/blog/edcamps-remixing-profesional-development-andrew-marcinek
Hack Education - http://www.isteunplugged.com/fri-627-hack-education.html