After learning about the concept of an edcamp training during a course I am taking at the University of Saint Joseph; I knew this was something I wanted to organize for preschool teachers and staff in my local area. I put together the following educational video (below) to explain the idea of an edcamp; and how I applied the model to deliver a professional development session specifically for preschool teachers, directors and child care staff.
What is an Edcamp all about?
Edcamps are free, participant-driven professional development which is done in an “unconference” format. Session topics are determined by participants, and there are no pre-scheduled presentations or keynotes. The goal is to keep sessions spontaneous, interactive and responsive to everyone’s needs. (Visit edcamp.org to learn more.)
I adapted the Edcamp style to create a shorter professional development session (2 1/2 hours) for infant, toddler and preschool teachers, as well as child care staff and administrators.
How did the Edcamp work?
Participants registered and submitted topic ideas in advance.
Using an online registration page, participants were asked to register and submit one or multiple topics for consideration as a breakout session. About a week prior to the training, I setup a schedule based on session topics that were submitted. Having topics submitted and the schedule set beforehand allowed us to streamline the training into the shorter timeframe.
Participant chose what sessions they wanted to attend.
Participants self-selected breakout sessions that were of interest based on the final published schedule. Teachers were encouraged to move to another session if they had selected a session that did not meet their needs.
Experience, not Experts. Everyone participated!
This is the best part! There is no one expert giving a presentation. Everyone actively participated, with the guidance of a volunteer facilitator, or discussion leader. Everyone was encouraged to ask questions, share best practices and support each other to get the most out of the training.
Notes were taken and shared!
Participants were given a “session log” to take notes on anything that was important to them. Digital notes were also taken on laptops that were available for each breakout session. After the training, all laptop notes were uploaded to Google docs and made accessible to all those that attended. In this way, teachers had access to notes from ALL the sessions (even the ones they didn’t attend)!
What did participants think about the Edcamp experience?
The feedback was very positive, with many attendees wanting to have another training in the future. Here is a snapshot of some of the responses:
I loved being able to talk, reflect, share and learn from other centers, directors, staff and my staff!
Do another Edcamp!
Very helpful! Really enjoyed the open discussion.
I liked the networking/discussions with teachers that I do not work with and compare what works in their classrooms on the topics of stress, literacy and movement.
I think that it was really interesting to be able to talk with other teachers.
Anyone can organize an Edcamp!
Take a look at the video below to get a peek at how we setup this edcamp training for ECE professionals. I hope it inspires others to consider this type of collaborative training model for their school and/or community!