On Monday, August 4, 2014 educational leaders from 10 states and Canada came together for Edcamp Leadership in the city of brotherly love; Philadelphia. It felt like a reunion for educators who were meeting members of their professional learning network (PLN)for the first time. That sounds strange to say, that it felt like a reunion with people you never met in person, but thanks to social media connections that’s exactly what it felt like for many of us.
The day itself was filled with learning, collaboration and new connections. Here’s 5 lessons learned from Edcamp Leadership:
1. Robert Southey said, “No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other’s worth.” Edcamp Leadership proved this quote to be true as so many of us finally had an opportunity to meet other educational leaders we have grown to first respect and second consider friends through our educational connections in social media.
2. Quality professional development needs to be focused on the needs of the masses not the needs of the few. The scheduling board at an Edcamp dictates what topics are important to people and what will be learned on that day. The board is a product of the participants not the organizers of the event. Therefore, the masses dictate that which is most important to their learning. This model also assures that individual “canned” presentations focused on commercial ventures are few and far between, and are replaced by hands-on and educationally stimulating discussions.
3. Quality professional learning happens in all corners of the Edcamp event. Throughout the day educational leaders talked, discussed and debated practices, ideas, and concepts. One of the rooms was reserved specifically for a “think tank” space where anyone could come together and talk educational shop. This is a great idea but can be further advanced with specific educators being assigned and promoted as the moderator of the room.
4. Change is on the way in education. So many educators shared how they are transforming learning, teaching, and leading within their classrooms, schools, and districts. It was inspiring.
5. Benjamin Franklin said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” And so in one day’s professional development that included pre-Edcamp activities, 4 sessions, a collaborative lunch, and post-Edcamp activities, I learned because I was involved. Each one of the sessions and activities included involvement, discussions, and activities that made the learning real and relevant to my role as an educational administrator. Those experiences will be taken right back to my school district for consideration.
It was an exciting and exhausting learning experience at Edcamp Leadership but it was one that involved great learning opportunities with administrators in my profession that I respect and learn from daily through social media. If you have yet to attend an Edcamp, please take advantage of the opportunity when one becomes available in your area. You will learn and get to meet the very educators who you have connected with through social media. Both the learning and connections will be of great value to you professionally.