When I spoke with David Wees last fall, he was just in the process of planning a Spring EdCamp conference with folks in Vancouver. After our Skype conversation ended, I immediately ran upstairs from the ManCave and announced to my wife, “Honey, I need to go to Vancouver.” Her agreement was eeither the result of her being half asleep at the time or——and I choose to believe this——she saw an imaginative sparkle in my eyes.
There was something about hearing David talk about the EdCamp conference as a new model of professional learning that challenged most of the assumptions that we make about traditional conferences and Pro-D initiatives. I knew I had to get there to check it out.
Closer to home, a group of about twenty of us have been planning EdCamp Toronto since the beginning of June. A series of face-to-face meetings (most of them in Toronto pubs), twitter exchanges and phone calls has led us to the point where our venue is set, our registration site is open and our early sponsorship support is strong.
We’ve built as much as we can: now it’s almost time for you to come!
So why bother? Why give up a Saturday in mid-October to join 299 other people at EdCamp Toronto? Here’s my top ten list of reasons why you may want to consider coming:
1. It’s new and different. Those of you who are into reading blogs and using social media are likely attracted by new and different.
2. It challenges many of the assumptions that we make about professional learning: there are no big keynote names, no fancy lunches, no lavish hotel ballrooms, publishers’ displays and no high price registration fees.
3. EdCamp recognizes your expertise. In fact, the whole concept relies on your willingness to come and share your story and your learning.
4. EdCamp raises your voice. Often educators, parents and members of the community surrounding schools are often spoken to, spoken about and spoken for when it comes to important issues involving education. EdCamp is designed to raise the voices of all participants to a level where they can be heard.
5. EdCamp has emerged from the grassroots. This initiative has grown out of a desire to imagine alternatives in education. It is not designed to communicate existing priorities and strategies. Instead, our hope is that we will discover new ones!
6. EdCamp is grounded in active conversations. Many conference attendees end up being passive participants. Topics are framed for them ahead of time, and most of the time, we just listen to someone else talk. At EdCamp, you are invited to be an active (even animated)contributor.
7. EdCamp is open to anyone interested in education. Registration to EdCamp is not limited to teachers and administrators. In fact, our planning committee is made up of parents, researchers, community organizers and social entrepreneurs. We recognize that education is a complex undertaking, one that involves all members of society!
8. EdCamp is on a Saturday. We realize that many will have family commitments to juggle, but on the flip-side traffic is lighter and the coffee always seems to taste better on a Saturday!
9. EdCamp is designed for networking. You may come with folks you know, but you are bound to discover new connections and new possibilities through the conversations you have and the people you meet!
10. EdCamp is designed to be free for participants. (Well, you will have to pay for parking at York.) Strong support from sponsors has made us confident that we can do all of this at no charge to those attending. That said, donations will be accepted at the door!
So, there you have it. My top ten reasons for attending EdCamp Toronto. How about you? Why will you be at EdCamp Toronto on October 15.
Register now. We look forward to meeting you.