Last July I attended the first Edcamphome , and today those same amazing organizers brought us back together along with some new folks for the second edcamphome. Armed with experience, Kelly, Shawn, David and Karl created an even richer experience for the participants who gathered to talk about everything from GAFE in the classroom to the Concept and Practice of Rebellion. The sessions were all published on youtube, and you should definitely check them out if you have the time (session 1 and session 2).
I’ve written before on the unconference format of edcamps and its virtues. Online edcamps like edcamphome or edcamp online take edcamp to a whole other level. Although there are obvious technical challenges to hosting synchronous google hangouts (challenges dealt with brilliantly by our organizers), the ability to connect with teachers from across the nation and even the globe about shared concerns, challenges, and sources of inspiration is mindblowingly awesome. This edcamp experience was by far the most valuable one I have had to date mainly because I connected with teachers and began really vital conversations about questions that have long been on my mind.
The session I was most excited to attend was one suggested by Peter Gow who posed a question that has been on my mind for as long as I’ve been an educator: What do independent and traditional public schools have to say to one another?” Although the conversation only included independent school educators, we had a rich conversation about some of the challenges we face as connected independent school educators in terms of creating deeper connections both amongst ourselves and with our public school peers. Discussing the seeming dearth of independent school educators connected on twitter or attending events like Edcamp home with Chris Thinnes, Chuck Maddox and Vicky Sedgwick was fantastic, and we began a conversation that I hope will continue via a new, yet to be determined hashtag and twitterchat. We all left the session excited to meet up again and perhaps begin to bridge the divide both between independent school educators and public school educators, and address the gap that exists between connected independent school educators and those who aren’t yet. Talking with such passionate, experienced, indy school educators certainly made my day, and inspired me to get back to the work of this blog which I have been long absent from, and for which I am exceedingly grateful.
The second session I attended was on the subject of rebellion, and although I did not have the chance to participate for the full session, I again left feeling inspired and energized by the fantastic educators who shared their time to talk about the role of rebellion in education. The greatest conclusion we came to when addressing the question, how do teachers become accepting of rebellion in the class was to pose rebellion as really just critical thinking in action. We want our classes to be places where students question and examine all sources, ideas, and assignments with a critical eye. Believing that education is the basis of informed citizenship, I left the chat thinking that actually what we meant by rebellion was really active participation. We want our students to actively participate in every aspect of our classes even if that means questioning our assignments or our ideas, and if we build a community that allows for this type of questioning then we have done a good part of our jobs.
So again edcamphome was revolutionary. It was definitely a great way to wind up winter break. I look forward to future edcamphome experiences and to maybe even using the experience as a platform to bring more independent school teachers into the fold. So again, we all want to change the world and edcamphome has allowed us to find comrades with whom to take a few small steps in our own edurevolutions. We are, afterall, always #bettertogether.
For Further Reading:
Peter Gow’s post on Edcamphome and the dialog we need
Markette Pierce on “Chillin’ with my edcamp Homies”