Before I attended EdCampDelta today, I was pointed toward this post on Things That Suck sessions by Bill Selak, an awesome educator from California. Then I received a demanding tweet from Karl Lindgren-Streicher and Kristen Swanson saying that a Things That Suck session had to go down at EdCampDelta today.
Problem: I had never even been to one of these sessions before, let alone facilitating one of these conversations! But hey, why not just dive into learning something new? After all, isn't that what EdCamp is all about?
BUT. There's always a BUT...
Most of the participants in the room were students. In a room that was quite full, I would actually say that well over half of them were students. Some of them had NO IDEA what some of the topics even were, including topic related to technology! After having to explain a few topics to them like Technology Carts, the New BC Curriculum, Interactive Whiteboards, and ePortfolios, I made a quick realization:
HOW WAS THIS SERVING THE NEEDS OF THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE ROOM?!
EdCamp is based on the idea that we should come choose our own conversations to have around professional development, right? So why not have participants select topics that they actually want to have a debate about before the session begins? It's really no big deal to discuss and throw those suggestions into a Google presentation or a Keynote in a matter of minutes as the participants trickle into the room! And voila - your conversations are tailored to the needs of the participants - it's like an EdCamp within an EdCamp! (#MetaCamp? :) I digress.)
More than that little idea, Chris Wejr later pushed me to consider that the "fence-sitters" should have to decide at some point on which side of the topic that they're going to pick to debate. Keep in mind that they can move as the discussion continues, but this promotes an increased amount of conversation and thought, even if one is forced to play devil's advocate (I did for a few topics, and it was really fun).
Either way, our Things That Suck session was incredibly infused with ever-valuable student voice, insightful parents, and amazing educators. I had a lot of fun and learned a ton!
Thanks to the organizers of EdCampDelta for a fun-filled day of conversation, discovery, and learning. My other three sessions were also fantastic and I just can't wait for EdCampWest and EdCamp35 coming up in the spring!