CO – Collaboration Strategies in Professional Development
Swanson, K. (2013, April 23). Why Edcamp?. Retrieved April 17, 2016, from Edcamps, http://www.edutopia.org/blog/why-edcamp-kristen-swanson
Summary: First started in 2010, Edcamp has gained a tremendous amount of support from educators interested in professional development that accommodates their desire for collaborative learning environments designed by teachers, for teachers. The author lists the primary reasons why Edcamp has been, and continues to be, so successful. First, Edcamp is free, in more ways than one: 1) There is no cost to attend, 2) attendees are free to choose and move through sessions based on their interests, and 3) Edcamps are held on Saturdays, accommodating teachers’ work schedules and not costing them a personal day to attend. Second, Edcamp is structured as a participant driven professional development conference where everyone has authority and are free to participate as they wish. Thus Edcamps promote productive conversation and effective collaboration as the platform for learning. Edcamp sessions are scheduled on the day of the event, ensuring a more organic collaborative learning environment, rather than planned and canned presentations. Similarly, Edcamps are hosted by individuals and organizations that are not affiliated with vendors or commercial entities, and as a result are not designed to sell anything or any way of thinking. In essence, the success of Edcamps is owing to the collaborative platform is promotes. Professional development through the sharing of ideas with other professionals in the field generates a +1 effect (two heads are greater than one) in learning and generating of ideas.
Review: This article was written by an Edcamp “veteran,” and is clearly designed to inform educators of the collaborative method and resource for professional development. Swanson does an excellent job of describing the Edcamp method, despite obvious areas that cannot be defined due to its largely organic platform. This article inspired the idea that collaboration between education professionals might not be so bleak as observed on campuses – perhaps the key is giving educators a feeling of authority, self-determination, freedom, and voice in their professional development. For more information on Edcamp and Edcamps that might be scheduled in your area check out their website, edcamp.org.