Prompted by #YourEdustory to describe an “ideal education conference” I kept coming back to one of the best experiences I’ve had in the past two years: EdCampSD. Many know that the EdCamp model isn’t exactly a conference, in fact EdCamp proudly describes itself as an “un-conference” free of fees, folks trying to sell something, and the basic confines of the traditional conferences most of us have found ourselves attending at some point.
I wrote about my 2014 EdCamp experience just after I got back from EdCampSD, and stick to that as a template for an ideal (un)conference.
In a nutshell, it’s the connections between the educators who come to EdCamp that make the gathering what it is. At it’s best, EdCamp provides equal doses of inspiration, information, and connection. Each EdCamp I’ve attended has left me both with specific ideas I could take back to my school, and a renewed faith in this grand adventure called education.
Many conferences I’ve attended feel make me feel like I’m just another cow in the herd; cattle being wrangled from watering hole to watering hole, mostly willing, never likely to stampede, though always entertaining the prospect of going maverick. Even the best keynote speech pales in comparison to the EdCamp mantra: go where you want to go; stay as long as you’re getting what you need.
Give me democracy, freedom, and respect, and I’ll give you my heartfelt praise of EdCamp as the best (un)conference around.