Edcamp Inservice Model Take 1 #cpchat

Today was our first day of November inservice and our staff jumped into an Edcamp model of professional development.  Prior to setting up for the day, staff had received information about what an Edcamp model looks like (see https://michaelberryedu.wordpress.com/2013/11/24/sunday-11-24-13-check-in/).  Here’s a couple of thoughts and reflections on the day for those considering using an Edcamp model for inservice planning:

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  • Have a rough idea of how many groups/sessions you want.  This chart was made ahead of time and folks wrote sessions that they’d be interested in on post its.  I then tried to lump them together into groups that were logical.  The reference to moustache management is due to my current participation in Movember…it’s a conversation starter!
  • I approached a few people ahead of time (but turned out I probably didn’t need to) just to have a sense of who might be willing/able to lead a group or at least put a topic up there.  My big fear was that no one would put any topics up and we wouldn’t have viable groups…I was very wrong.

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  • Take small steps.  This was a big move for a lot of our folks, and I could have gone for longer sessions, more blocks, etc. but I’m very happy that we stuck with two blocks and forty-five minutes.  It gave people the chance to explore the model and understand how powerful it can be compared to more “traditional” professional development sessions.
  • Less is more.  I did very little talking during this inservice.  Typically, I fear, I do way more talking than I should.  This was about them, not me.
  • Amp up the Smack Down waaaaaaaaaaaay before the edcamp.  This was the one area I wish had been more successful.  We had about four people share in front of the group (and what they shared was excellent); however, I’ve attended edcamps where the Smack Down portion goes overtime because people are sharing such great stuff…I think I was hoping for that.  But in hindsight, folks weren’t really prepared for the Smack Down, so next time I would share it ahead of time, amp it up a bit more and make it a fun event at the end.

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All in all I received feedback from the morning that it was a great model, people really felt like they had a chance to share resources and learn from their colleagues.  I terms of next steps I think about a few things:

  • Being able to connect with other schools (this inservice was only our folks, none from other schools in the area) and how powerful that experience will be. I definitely feel that this is going to become a staple of our inservice planning and will continue to grow and become more powerful.   
  • Adding more technology to the experience.  I’d like to have a wiki set up, back channeling, introduce more of the social media connections to the experience.  We didn’t do much of that (there was a session on social media) this round, but I think it will be a great add to the next.
  • I would probably add another block to the day, just to allow for another layer of experiences.

Great morning and inservice day…now I can sleep!

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3 thoughts on “Edcamp Inservice Model Take 1 #cpchat

  1. Awesome! Takes bravery to step out and try something new. I’d recommend making it a true EdCamp next time by making it open to the public and available to anyone – that’s what makes EdCamp, Edcamp. You could get some new voices in the conversation and meet what your staff were asking for in connecting with others.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. A few of us were reflecting afterward and all said that exact same thing. There are a couple of local elementary schools within our supervisory union and we thought inviting them to an event, or as you said, opening it up to other educators would be a great next step.

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