by Tim Grivois-Shah, Ed.D., Director of Professional Learning and Community Engagement
Edcamp Tucson is coming up on February 9, 2019 at 8:30am and happens at CITY Center for Collaborative Learning twice a year and. And I have no idea what we’ll be talking about yet.
Most professional learning events for teachers are planned well in advance. A school leader, a group of teachers, or a district committee works together to plan agendas, align topics with strategic plans, and create the learning activities for teachers to do. I’ve attended many outstanding professional learning events that skilled facilitators designed and led, and when what I was learning matched what I knew my students needed from me, I valued every minute I spent in that training.
And, when what I was learning conflicted with what I knew my students needed from me, I spend every minute politely nodding and wondering when I could leave.
Edcamp Tucson is a completely different kind of professional learning experience. Instead of coming to a presentation someone else planned in advance, Edcampers gather for conversations about the topics that matter to them. Edcamp Tucson begins with a blank schedule that gets filled in with the ideas, interests, and questions that Tucson teachers decide to talk about.
“I’m wondering what I can do to support my students who don’t have access to computers at home,” says one teacher.
“Me too!” says another, “I want my kids to use technology in the next project I’ve planned, but not everyone in my class has internet. We should talk about that! There’s a spot in one of the break-out rooms for 9:30. Let’s do a session then!”
Those teachers propose a session and put it on the board. Then, everyone who wants to have a conversation about access to technology joins those teachers at 9:30. Anyone who wants to do something else goes to something different. Most importantly, if I go to a session and the conversation is different than what I was hoping to learn, I get to find a different session instead. While I may not know what exactly we’ll work on at Edcamp, I am certain that every teacher will find something in common with an amazing, positive group of teachers and that everyone will come away with an idea, strategy, or tool to help their students learn and grow
Edcamp Tucson is the space where teachers gather to have the conversations that matter to them. When teachers are at the center of the learning, get to choose what matters most, and are free to find a better conversation when needed, we co-create a space that elevates teaching and honors to expertise of teachers in the room.