Previously, I blogged about how to develop an edcamp (or a professional development style of your choosing!) I wanted to expand on how we worked it the day of the event. Lynne and I did meet at the school the day before the event to go over everything and make a few signs.
The day of the event, we had breakfast for everyone to eat and mingle before the event. I checked people in through the Eventbrite app on my iPad as they were arriving. I will say that sometimes we have had trouble with wifi at schools with various edcamps. Always make sure that you are able to access wifi during the event. When people signed in, I gave them a raffle ticket for later.
We also had a “birds of a feather” table set up. This way, teachers could mingle with fellow teachers who taught the same language. I have noticed that if we have a lot of tables initially, people will spread out and not mingle. When you have labeled tables, people talk a lot more! I definitely had to quiet everyone down to start speaking- which is what we want!
We also had the open schedule up on the board. This edcamp was a little different from others because we wanted to focus on using comprehensible input. There were some teachers who have used it extensively and other teachers who have not used it much at all. Instead of just having everyone add to the board, we had a window for people to share what topics that they wanted to know more about. Then we had people who felt comfortable discussing those put a sticky note up to informally lead the discussion. I will say that I was a bit nervous that people would dominate the conversations, but we had some GREAT conversations.
I will say that participation and over-participation is a tricky balance to attain with edcamps; however, even though we had semi designated presenters, everyone really shared evenly. This was as wonderful of a sharing as I have seen in edcamps before. At edcampmetrodc, the theme emerged of step up and step back. This means- if you typically sit quietly, push yourself to step up and share! Everyone will benefit from your ideas. Or if you are more like me and share a LOT- step back and make sure that everyone is being heard. I would encourage more edcamps to adopt this phrase. Many times, just acknowledging this helps guide the conversations.
Finally, after deciding on the board, we ended up with three sessions per time slot. This seemed sufficient for our group. We had five classrooms that we had made sure were available, so we could judge the day of the event. I believe that this flexibility is really important. I would say that it is better to have more sessions if you have a larger group. Since you want everyone to be able to share, smaller groups can be preferable to larger groups.
Lynne and I shared a powerpoint with the following information:
- who we are
- what an edcamp is
- what comprehensible input is
- how to start a session (along with step up and step back)
- thank you to our sponsors
- building logistics (including where bathrooms are! Don’t forget that!)
Then people could look at the schedule and move to where they wanted to go! Since we were a bit more “low tech,” I put the schedule online as well as on a poster board. I moved the poster to the hallway between the sessions, so people could see it between sessions. During sessions, I could easily take the time to participate which was amazing. I also would pop around the rooms with about 10 minutes to go to let everyone know how much time was left. However, all of the sessions seemed to move nicely into the next session.
Finally at the end of the day, we had people share out some of their favorite ideas. This was where I learned about psycho drama! Then we had the raffle and meet-up at a local pizza place. We had a nice group join us there, and it was great to see more people and be able to continue the conversation in an informal manner. Whew! Although it seemed daunting to type all of that out, it really was a great day and involved minimal preparation on our behalf… as minimal as planning any conference can be. Don’t worry if you missed this one, I know that we already are hoping to have another one next year!