“How many billions of dollars of public money have we spent on motivational speakers, experts, and “learning experiences” for teachers? And what good has it done? What results do we have to show? Nothing.”
– Mayor Michael Bloomberg, at Education Nation
One of the skills teachers quickly learn to master is that of appearing to pay attention during professional development while actually grading papers, or inputting grades, or writing lesson plans, or creating handouts, or any number of tasks that are 100 times more pressing than listening to a presenter read her power point slide after Comic Sans font slide. Who hasn’t been asked a question out of the blue? You look up from your 2nd period quizzes, meet the eyes of the presenter and watch a little smile spread across her face – “Gotch ya.” Indeed.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve attended some (LOTS!) of not-so-amazing PD sessions. What if teachers could create, run and then choose what sessions to attend? This is the gist of the idea behind what is called EdCamp, a “non-conference” run by teachers and for teachers that centers around the main belief that teachers (not venders or PD companies looking to make a quick buck) have knowledge worth sharing with each other. Check out this provocative article from Harvard’s Education Letter to read more about EdCamp.