Rethinking Teacher Professional Development

Bill Ferriter at The Tempered Radical introduced me today to a PD concept I had never, EVER heard of: edcamps.  (And there’s one coming up in Plano on May 14!)

[E]dcamps—free learning conferences organized by educators and for educators—all begin with participants joining together in a central meeting place deciding on topics worth studying and creating an ad hoc schedule of sessions for the day.

Anyone can volunteer to lead a conversation on a topic that they are interested in at an edcamp.  […]

“It surprises me every time,” says Dan Callahan—one of the founders of the edcamp movement and a digital friend of mine. “You walk in and that schedule board is empty and by the end of an hour it is full of more stuff than you can get to.”

From there, participants design their own learning plan for the day. 

They pick sessions that pique their interests or meet their professional needs—and more importantly, they join together with other educators who share the same interests or who are tackling the same professional needs.

By the end of the day, participants walk away energized—and empowered by a collection of new ideas and individuals to learn from.

That’s crazy-talk, isn’t it?

Teachers—who have a bad reputation for groaning every time that they’re asked to be learners in the traditional PD sessions planned and delivered by districts—are willingly joining together to spend their weekends engaged in powerful conversations about teaching and learning?


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