EdCamp is a participant-driven conference style bringing educators together to explore multiple topics. My understanding is that it’s kind of an ‘unconference’ because the topics and materials are not pre-planned, but happen organically and involve collaboration and an open floor for everyone to discuss and contribute thoughts and ideas.

When we explored this in our classroom, our teacher Michael had us brainstorm five topics we were interested in. Anyone who was willing to share their idea could write it on one of the five labels up on the board. Next, he gave each student in our class three colours sticky-dots to place on their preferred topics of interest (voting system). This process allowed us to eliminate the two less popular topics, and then break into three groups to discuss the remaining topics. I chose to break off with the “Outdoor Education” group.

I really enjoyed this format because it allowed everyone to share thoughts and ideas equally, and then to build on each other’s ideas. I like how this style of conference is interest-based and gives a voice to the participants. Every break off group ended up in a circle, which is an awesome way to include everyone and encourage sharing and equality. Some participants talked more than others, so that is something to consider, but in general there was diverse ideas and participation.

I want to use this in my classroom, because I think students will love it! They get to contribute their own ideas and then choose their own groups and lead their own discussions. It would be completely student-driven and inclusive. It would provide an opportunity to observe the students and listen to their ideas as the teacher as well.